‘Know-it-all’ TikToker fined for saying Ho Chi Minh City is full of criminals

Nguyen Nhat Hai is known for his pro-government musings and anti-celebrity rants.
By RFA Vietnamese
2024.04.03
‘Know-it-all’ TikToker fined for saying Ho Chi Minh City is full of criminals TikToker Nguyen Nhat Hai
VTC News

A Vietnamese pro-government TikToker with 900,000 followers has been issued a US$300 fine for saying on the social media platform that the largest city in southern Vietnam is a haven for criminals, state media reported.

Ho Chi Minh City authorities charged Nguyen Nhat Hai, known on TikTok as Nhat Hai Biet Tuot (which translated in English is “Know-it-all Nhat Hai”) with “providing, posting false information and distorting, slandering and insulting the prestige of agencies and organizations,” and slapped with a fine of 7.5 million dong, or about US$300, which is a standard fine in Vietnam.

The penalty is for a video he shared on March 14 that contained text saying, “Returning to the question of why Saigon has so many thefts, the main reason is culture. Saigon is an ideal place for crimes (to occur.)”

Saigon was the name of the city until it was renamed in 1975 after communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh. The former name is still widely used in unofficial settings.

The fine was issued jointly by the Information and Communications Departments of Ho Chi Minh City and the northern province of Bac Giang where Hai resides, VTC News reported, while including information about the exact article, clause and point he had violated with his opinions of the city.

Hai has removed the offending video from his TikTok account.

He has been in legal trouble for his content before. In August 2023, YouTuber Dua Leo said he would sue the TikToker for slander because Hai had said that police fined Leo for calling for demonstrations.

Hai’s TikTok account is well known for its harsh criticism of Vietnamese celebrities, and praise of Vietnamese leaders.

In a notable example, Hai was critical of singer Nam Em, warning her that she “can say whatever she wants to but it is best not to mention Uncle Ho,” using a nickname for Ho Chi Minh.

Another video discussed Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh being warmly welcomed in Australia with a 19-gun salute as Hanoi and Canberra upgraded their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“I am so proud of our leaders,” he said in the video.

Translated by Anna Vu. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.

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