Safe at home, Taiwanese recount Vietnam factory riot

05/14/2014 10:26 PM
Wang, upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday.
Wang, upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday.

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Speaking from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, a 29-year-old Taiwanese man recalled Wednesday evening his fear as Vietnamese protesters smashed buildings and equipment and threw gasoline bombs at factories like the one run by his family.

The businessman, who identified himself only by the surname Wang, was in the first group of Taiwanese flying home from southern Vietnam as Binh Duong province, home to a large number of Taiwanese businesses, remained in the throes of angry protesters acting out against what they considered a Chinese intrusion into Vietnam's territorial waters.

In his six years in Vietnam, Wang has never before seen the "savage acts" he was witness to when protesters armed with wooden clubs, iron bars and stones began Tuesday attacking foreign-owned factories, breaking down doors and setting fires.

He said he saw the mob attack every ethnic Chinese person they saw and razed seven factories.

Even though the riot has destroyed his family's investment of several million U.S. dollars, Wang said he is thankful just for being able to return to Taiwan unharmed.

Another Taiwanese businessman surnamed of Chen said he saw rioters setting fires and looting.

Many Taiwanese left in Binh Duong, a province that borders Ho Chi Minh City, could only hide in hotels Wednesday night for fear of attack. Some even disguised themselves in a mad dash to escape from factories under siege, Chen said, going so far as to say in his rage that "the Vietnamese are truly abominable."

Nearly 1,000 Taiwan-invested businesses have been impacted by the violence in Binh Duong, the product of rising anti-China sentiment over competition in the resource-rich South China Sea, where China last week China positioned an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam.

The sentiment spilled over and led the angry mob to attack any building with signage in Chinese characters.

Returning home, other Taiwanese citizens blamed Vietnamese authorities for failing to take measures to stop the attacks, suggesting they may have intentionally turned a blind eye to the violence.

(By Bien Chin-feng and Elizabeth Hsu)ENDITEM/WH

Related stories:●May 14: Taiwanese carriers deploy larger planes on Vietnam-Taipei flights●May 14: 10 Taiwanese factories in Vietnam set afire during protests

(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)

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