Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
24 April 2017
Vietnamese villagers release 19 officials held hostage for a week
Villagers from Dong Tam village, 25 miles south of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, released 19 police and security officials on Saturday, after a meeting with the communist government’s top local official.
The villagers had taken the officials hostage the week before in protest against plans to seize 145 acres of farmland to give to the military-owned telecommunications company, Viettel, supposedly as part of a deal struck in 2015.
According to a local resident, authorities pledged to resolve the dispute within 45 days. [The New York Times]
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Three militants killed and one soldier beheaded in Philippines
The Philippine military announced on Sunday that they killed three more Abu Sayyaf militants on the resort island of Bohol, after the Islamic State-affiliated group were unsuccessful in an attempt to abduct tourists.
Hours later, an army sergeant who had been involved in conducting peace negotiations was found beheaded in Patikul town in Sulu.
President Duterte issued a typically combative response. “If you want me to be an animal, I’m also used to that. We’re just the same,” he said. “I can dish out, go down what you can 50 times over.” [Al Jazeera]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Notorious rebel commander among nine killed in Philippines, general says
Court Summons Lawmakers, Radio Free Asia Journalist Over Prison Visit
One of Cambodia’s most prominent journalists is facing potential prison time after being summoned to court for questioning on false declaration charges stemming from a visit to a prison in the capital in which he allegedly pretended to be an official with the opposition CNRP.
If found guilty, Huot Khin Vuthy, who uses the name Chun Chanbot in his broadcasts for Radio Free Asia, faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. He has claimed that he only signed into the prison using his name, and did not lie about his position.
Mu Sochua and Long Ry, the opposition lawmakers that Vuthy accompanied to the prison, have also been called for questioning as witnesses in the case. [The Cambodia Daily]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Killing the radio star
Land reclamation in Penang wreaks havoc on fishing communities
In a bid to tap into growing demand for real estate, developers off the coast of Penang, Malaysia’s most densely populated island, are ramping up their artificial island-building activities. Environmentalists say their actions are causing fish to migrate in droves, leaving poor local farmers out of pocket. [The Wire Indonesia]
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