Cablegate: Attempted Self-Immolation in Front of Congen Hcmc

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

REF: HCMC 846 and previous

1. (SBU) At approximately 0900 local time, August 19, an
unidentified man, dressed in street clothes, collapsed a short
distance from the main entrance of the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi
Minh City. The Consulate local guards rushed to assist, and found
that the person's clothes were doused with gasoline or a similar
fuel. The person also had a bottle of fuel on his person. He had
a cigarette lighter in one hand and a letter in another. ConGen
guards quickly removed the lighter to ensure the man's safety. Ho
Chi Minh City police responded and arrested the man and removed
him to an unknown location. We have requested Ho Chi Minh City
authorities provide us with the results of their investigation on
the individual.

2. (SBU) It appears that the individual is linked to Hoa Hao
dissidents in the Mekong Delta, two of whom had self-immolated on
August 5 (reftels). Following the incident in front of the
ConGen, we received a call from Le Quan Liem, a leader of the Hoa
Hao dissidents based in HCMC. Liem said that a contact of his "in
the Delta" said that there would be a self-immolation attempt in
front of the Consulate. He told us that he had no prior knowledge
of this effort and asked us if anything had happened.

3. (SBU) Separately, Truong Van Duc, another Hoa Hao dissident
leader based in the Delta's An Giang Province, called us at 0830
to inform us of his decision to apply for resettlement in the
United States under the "P-1" program. He complained that his
home remains surrounded by police officers, but he did not make
any reference to action in front of the Consulate.

4. (SBU) Comment: Paragraph 5 contains suggested "if asked" press
guidance on the incident. In all of our previous contacts with
Liem and Duc, we have emphasized that self-immolation is not an
acceptable form of protest no matter the grievance and that we
would end contact if such attempts continued. Liem has told us
that he understood and was trying to counsel restraint, but that
he has limited influence over his followers in the Delta. True or
not, we believe it is time to make clear that the USG does not
condone violent extremism in any form and to minimize contact with
Liem's group. End Comment.

5. (SBU) Begin "If asked" press guidance:

Q. Did someone try and self-immolate in front of the Consulate on
August 19?

A. This morning, an unidentified man apparently attempted self-
immolation in front of the main entrance of the U.S. Consulate in
Ho Chi Minh City. Consulate guards and Vietnamese security
officers prevented the attempt.

Q. Who is this person? Was this incident linked to other self-
immolation incidents in the Mekong Delta? What happened to the
letter he was holding?

A. We have no further information on the identity of the person,
who was subsequently detained by local police. The United States
categorically rejects self-immolation and all other acts of
violent extremism no matter the underlying grievances. We urge
all involved to avoid taking actions that might lead to loss of


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