Many Czech Vietnamese fear for safety after Berlin abduction

15. 09. 2019 • 11:04

Many Vietnamese living in the country started to fear for their safety after a former Vietnamese communist official was abducted from Berlin to Vietnam via Czechia in 2017, representative of the minority say in the annual report on ethnic minorities in the Czech Republic.

"It is apparent that many Vietnamese have fears and began to behave more cautiously. Human rights activists are disillusioned most of all. They have faced blackmail in form of the ban on their entry to the Vietnamese territory and prevention of any contacts with their Vietnamese family until now. Now they are asking themselves whether they are safe in the Czech Republic," the representatives of the Vietnamese minority declare in the report.

The Czech cabinet is to discuss the annual report on the situation of ethnic minorities living in the country on Monday.

Vietnamese businessman and former communist official Vietnamese Trinh Xuan Thanh, who was seeking asylum in Germany, was kidnapped by Vietnamese agents in the centre of Berlin in daylight in July 2017, and via Prague and Bratislava he was taken back to Vietnam where he was tried and sentenced for life for embezzlement in January 2018, the German prosecutor's office said. The case caused a diplomatic clash between Germany and Vietnam.

The media reported that Trinh was driven across the Czech Republic to Bratislava and his Vietnamese abductors used a Slovak government plane to get him abroad. Former interior minister Robert Kalinak dismissed this.

The media also wrote previously about the possible involvement of a Vietnamese businessman from Prague who was a part of a network led by Vietnamese secret services.

Last year, a German court sentenced to prison a Vietnamese man who rent two cars in Prague to follow and kidnap Trinh.

The representatives of the Vietnamese minority said it has turned out that Vietnamese forces chose the Czech Republic as the background to prepare and carry out the operation, used Vietnamese with a Czech residence permit and had a network of its agents there.

The report on minorities says that the second generation of Vietnamese living in Czechia tries to cooperate with the authorities and nongovernmental organisations to improve their integration. In the Czech local elections last year, far more candidates of Vietnamese origin ran than before. Czech parties and movements showed interest in winning the votes of people from the Vietnamese community, unlike in previous elections.

The report writes that the first generation of Vietnamese neither speaks Czech well, nor knows the regulations and nor understands the social and healthcare systems. The future of this ageing generation is problematic, representatives of the Vietnamese minority said. Pensions of people who worked and paid social insurance in the former Czechoslovakia and then returned to their homeland should be discussed, they said.

The Czech government council for ethnic minorities comprises representatives of 14 minorities. Germans and Belarusians complain that partial old-age pensions are not paid to them. The report points out that Czech society is becoming more radical and xenophobic. It says subsidies for education in minority languages or other activities are insufficient.

Chci být rychlejší než Musk, říká přední český odborník na umělou inteligenci

Jan Žižka
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