Cablegate: "Terrorist" Cases of Ly Tong and Vo Van Duc

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) This is an action request -- see para 3.

2. (U) Following up on Assistant Foreign Minister Nguyen
Duc Hung's verbal request to Charge on March 4, the MFA
formally provided via diplomatic note a request for firm
punishment against convicted hijacker Ly Tong or his
extradition to Vietnam, as well as the extradition either to
Vietnam or to Thailand of Vo Van Duc for his involvement in
a 2001 attempted bombing attack against the Vietnamese
Embassy in Bangkok. Full text in para 4.

3. (U) Action request: Please provide appropriate
language for a formal response by diplomatic note.

4. Following is Embassy's informal translation:
Begin text

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

No. 93/NG-LS

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam presents its compliments to the Embassy of the
United States in Vietnam and has the honor to discuss the
following issue with the latter:
1/ On November 17, 2000, Ly Tong, a Vietnamese citizen who
has a resident registration in the US, used force to gain
control of an airplane to violate Vietnam's airspace,
distributing leaflets whose contents opposed the State of
Vietnam. By doing so, Ly Tong committed an offence under
Thai law as well as serious offences under Vietnamese law as
defined in the Penal Code of Vietnam.

2/ On December 25, the provincial court of Rayong issued a
court decision sentencing Ly Tong to seven years and four
months imprisonment, guilty on the charges using force to
get control of an airplane, illegally taking an airplane out
of Thai territory, illegal migration and offences to
criminal law.

3/ Since Ly Tong is a Vietnamese citizen who has committed
offences under Vietnamese law, his case needs to be
considered according to Vietnamese law as well. The case
appears even more serious given a piece of information
acquired by the Vietnamese side about Ly Tong's continued
attempt to use airplanes to conduct activities against the
State of Vietnam and even to target Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum
in Hanoi, which was expressed in Ly Tong's own message when
addressing former air force officers of the former Republic
of Vietnam regime in Paris while he was still detained in
Thailand. In addition, the fact that he twice committed the
crime of using force to get control of Thai airplanes (in
September 1992 and November 2000) proves that he is
dangerous terrorist criminal who needs to be strictly
punished and put under close surveillance.

In light of the fine developments in relations between
Vietnam and the US, especially bilateral cooperation on
counter-terrorism, we kindly request the US to cooperate
with Vietnam and Thailand to propose strict punishment
against Ly Tong based on the serious nature of his terrorist
offences targeting the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, or to
return him to Vietnam for criminal proceedings according to
Vietnamese law.

4/ We would like to take this opportunity once again to
request the US to return Vo Van Duc, who lead a group of
terrorists planning a terrorist bombing against the
Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 19, 2001,
to Vietnam for criminal proceedings under the charge of
conducting terrorist activities, or promptly to extradite
him to Thailand at the Thai Government's request for
criminal proceedings according to the US-Thailand Agreement
on Extradition signed in 1982.

We look forward to receiving a response from the US side
regarding the mentioned request.

Vietnam highly appreciates US cooperation in preventing
activities conducted by terrorists against Vietnamese
targets and reaffirms its wish to maintain close cooperation
with the US in the fight against terrorism in the world.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the
Embassy of the United States in Vietnam the assurance of its
highest consideration.

Hanoi, March 9, 2004.
end text

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