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Houston Matters

Houstonian Arrested In Vietnam And Is Being Held For Disturbing Public Order

We learn more about a Houstonian who is preparing for trial in Vietnam this week. William Nguyen is a U.S. citizen who faces a criminal charge there after participating in protests. Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with California Congressman Alan Lowenthal as he lays out what’s at stake for the Houston native.

Vietnamese protesters against a proposal to grant companies lengthy land leases during a demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, June 10, 2018.

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Lawmakers in Washington are closely watching the upcoming trial of a Houston man in Vietnam. William Nguyen, 32, a Houston native and a proud Vietnamese-American, was arrested while taking a break from his studies at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He visited Vietnam as his family did annually for years.

While there, Nguyen joined a protests in Ho Chi Minh City, protesting that government's plans to establish special economic zones. He is charged with disrupting public space and allegedly encouraging other protesters to overrun police barricades.

His trial is set to begin on Friday (July 20) in Vietnam. Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with California Congressman Alan Lowenthal, who co-chairs the Congressional caucus on Vietnam and represents one of the largest Vietnamese-American communities in the country. He has been in touch with the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Dan Kritenbrink, and his office says they're closely watching this trial on Friday.

  • William Nguyen, left, with his sister Victoria are seen in this undated family photo. (Photo Credit: Photo: Victoria Nguyen)
    William Nguyen, left, with his sister Victoria are seen in this undated family photo. (Photo Credit: Photo: Victoria Nguyen)
  • William Nguyen (first from the lefT) poses in this undated photo with his mother and his sister Victoria and his older brother. (Photo Credit: Photo: Victoria Nguyen)
    William Nguyen (first from the lefT) poses in this undated photo with his mother and his sister Victoria and his older brother. (Photo Credit: Photo: Victoria Nguyen)
  • Vietnamese protesters shout slogans against a proposal to grant companies lengthy land leases during a demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, June 10, 2018. (Photo Credit: Kao Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images)
    Vietnamese protesters shout slogans against a proposal to grant companies lengthy land leases during a demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, June 10, 2018. (Photo Credit: Kao Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A motorist looks at charred vehicles burned by protesters at a fire and police station in the south central province of Binh Thuan, Vietnam on June 12, 2018.AP
    A motorist looks at charred vehicles burned by protesters at a fire and police station in the south central province of Binh Thuan, Vietnam on June 12, 2018.AP
  • A row of charred vehicles is seen at the fire and police station in the south central province of Binh Thuan, Vietnam on June 12, 2018.AP
    A row of charred vehicles is seen at the fire and police station in the south central province of Binh Thuan, Vietnam on June 12, 2018.AP