Reporter Huyen Trang telling her story of being kidnapped by police on Oct. 30.2012
VRNs (Nov 17th, 2012) - Saigon - I am writing, first of all, to praise the strength and power of God, I want to express my deep appreciation to Mother Mary, as I witnessed her kindness and immense love, I also want to testify of the power of the Man Coi Rosary.
At 10:30, on 30/10/2012, I, Anna Huyen Trang, and a friend left Bach Tung Diep Park to Tao Dan Park, headed back to where my friend had parked her bike (across the street from the Presidential Palace). There was a group of more than 30 people, including uniformed policemen, plain clothed security policemen, military men, traffic policemen surrounded and arrested us. They demanded to check our identification cards. I asked: "Where’s the order to check our papers? If you want to check our papers, then you have to check all the people’s papers present at this park? I will call my uncle to work with you", but they quickly snatched my phone.
They pulled us onto an unidentified car, but I refused, I was railing tightly into the car. They tried to drag me into the car but did not succeed. Finally, 3 or 4 people of the group pushed me very hard into it. Yet, they could not close the door because my leg was wedging the door. They were struggling, eventually 3-5 people outside the car pushed the door and another person pinned me down in the car and dragged my leg in. Until then the car door was properly closed.
Shortly after 11 o’clock, my friend and I were taken to the police station of Cau Kho Ward, District 1, Saigon. My friend and I were kept separately.
At the "work office", the first thing I thought of was to get the Man Coi rosary out and prayed.
There were about 10 security men, policemen and militiamen who "worked" with me. A security man asked me: "What’s your name, what’s your address, what’d you do? ... I asked back:" Who are you, why are you asking me?, What's your name? " This security man shouted:" This is the police station. The police brought you here, then I have the rights to ask you, ". I said again:" Police must wear uniforms, but you are not wearing your uniforms?".
Another policeman asked me: "You’re here now, what do you want?". I replied: "I do not want anything, I was brought here arbitrarily, and then you asked me that?" They asked: “Are you a Vietnamese citizen?". I replied: "I am Vietnamese" They said: "If you are Vietnamese, then at least you must carry an ID card with you!". I replied: "I go to the gym in the morning, why should I take it with me?". And they kept repeating like "If you cooperate with us, you will be released sooner ... What's your name? Where’d you live? What did you do going to Bach Tung Diep park ...? "
They did not have orders to take me to the police station so there was no reason that I should provide my personal information for them. I kept lying on the table, eyes closed, silent, telling my beads and prayed. Seeing this, they pounded the desk constantly with their fists, created noise to "terrorize” my ears, but I did not care as they were only hurting their hands, not mine! A plain clothed security/policeman kept patting on my hand and said it repeatedly: "Hey, wake up, let’s get work started then go home early ...". I did not answer him because I had not done anything wrong that I had to "work" with him.
Seeing I was lying flatly on the table so sometimes they tried to humiliate me with words like: "You rape her for me," the other replied: "Do it yourself, why asking me?", Someone else in the room said: "Strip off her clothes for me", "or “She must have worked very hard last night so she’s now very tired and needs some sleep to recover", then they burst out laughing. But I still closed my eyes, silent, telling my beads and prayed.
A moment later, a security person, who had interrogated me earlier, 3 times in a row, grabbed my hair and pulled me up to talk, but I kept closing my eyes, silent, telling my beads and prayed ... Seeing this, this security man, three times in a row again, grabbed my hair and pulled my head up, but I still closed my eyes, silent, telling my beads and prayed... this security man said: "Let a policewoman work with her, but she must wear a uniform in order for her to cooperate with"
The young security man found me holding the Man Coi Rosary in my hand, a memorabilia of a venerable Father who gave me, he said: "Why, these people, they all have one of these?". I silently thought: "Thank God because they have realized the source of power in mine." This young security man came up to me, curiously to examine the beads, seeing the inscription "Jerusalem". The young security man asked: "What'd that word mean?". Then they said to each other: "There is no God here, God's at the church, your prayers are also useless. God cannot save you here! You just let me know who God is ...! ".
My heart sank because they had offended God, but I still closed my eyes, silent, telling my beads, and prayed. And thinking of my family, my media VRNs family, precious friends who were worried about me. I felt comfort in their love and my tears started to drip, but I was happy, because God, the Blessed Mother and Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan were in my faith accompany me.
About 10 minutes later, a young, beautiful policewoman with a gentle face, obeyed her her superior’s orders, woke me up, but I still closed my eyes, silent, touched my beads and prayed. She said: "Because you do not co-operate I’m going to have to strangle you" [Does VN law allow police authorities "do not co-operate, so I’m going to strangle"?], then she strangled me, trying to choke me 3 times in a row, I still closed my eyes, silent, touch my rosary, and prayed. Soon after, they pulled me up and told the policewoman to body search me. I looked straight at the security man’s face and said: "Who allows you to search my body, whose orders?". They answered: "Here is the police station, here is the law and we have the right to do this." They pulled me up, grabbed my hands, I struggled because of their unacceptable behavior ... but they searched me and found 76,000dong (Vietnamese currency), a mask, a hat and a coat.
The police man who interrogated me pulled my hand saying: "If you were a boy you’d die in my hands already. You, stubborn, dumb and deaf! ". I replied: "You're right. Because I know you love your wife, and she is a woman, and so am I". The security policeman immediately let go of my hand, and later he limited his violent acts as well as abused words with me.
At the same time, they said: "She has no name, no home, no job, wandering, link her to the decree 423 and send her for Thanh Ha camp, Hanoi, like Bui Hang, she is very close to Bui Hang! ".
They would not let me sit near the table but dragged my chair away from the table but I still I closed my eyes, silent, rosaried and prayed. A young security policeman suggested, "Let’s find her chair without a headrest or back support to see if she can still pray. You, hard-headed girl". Another person agreed with this guy and thought it was a good idea, so they found one riding chair without backrest, others exclaimed: "what if she falls over, we’ll get in trouble!” The young security policeman replied: "No worries, there’s a 24/24 camera here. If she falls, it’s her fault, not ours!" But that plastic chair remained calmly, unseated, next to the chair I was sitting on.
The young security policeman: "You there, are you deaf and dumb? Why are you not listening to what I’m saying?". I opened my eyes and looked straight at him and said: "I was praying." He asked: "When will you finish praying then?". I answered: "By 10 pm, I still have not finished my prayer!".
Next, they insulted Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai and the Redemptorist Fathers: "Do the fathers get married and have children, you know?, I guess you are the wife or child of Mr Thoai, aren’t you, a bunch of terrorists... ". They went on: "You have a very bright face, but why so stupid! They gave you money, or promised to help you go abroad, didn’t they? Hence, you go along with the traitors? Do you want to fight communism! Can’t do it, only the American can do that, sister! ... ". I felt the bitterness in my heart when hearing that but I still closed my eyes, silent, rosaried, and prayed.
Dear policemen, security policemen, and militiamen. You and I are Vietnamese, as Vietnamese people why you used such the words attributed to me and insulted me like that! If, your daughters had been in my shoes, what would you have felt about your previous comments?
Around 14:15, a plain-clothed policeman with short-sleeved shirt tuck in his trousers, asked: "Any progress from her?" One said: "She's tough, she's dumb and deaf and she wanders because she does not let us know her name ... ", another said:" Call someone with AIDS here, give her a shot, let her have AIDS too, this Ward has many cocaine addicts and AIDS carriers" . After that, a policeman said: "Call her up (a big woman whose name I don’t know) to work with her." This woman "greeted" me by making my eyes open with her hand but I still closed my eyes, silent, rosaried and prayed. One of the group said: "She has been deaf and mute since brought here, has not spoken and has not opened her eyes." She immediately flipped into my ears 3 times, then flicked my nose with her hand, but I still closed my eyes, silent, rosaried and prayed.
The last policeman ordered: "Take her to the bathroom and searched to see what on her?" My response: "Who allows you to search my body, where is the order?" She replied : "This is the police station, the law is here, I have the right to search you, when the search is completed there will be a written report following ..." I resisted: "You have no right to search me at all" ... "Say no more and pull her into the bathroom, " reordered, the policeman.
In the bathroom, she asked me to "take off your clothes," I said: "You do not have the right to search me. Where’s the order? ", I asked:" if I were your daughter what were you going to do? ", She replied:" Because I consider you as my daughter so I will examine you myself, if you were someone else I would ask the other guys to do it ... ".
I looked over the young policewoman and asked: "If it was you, what would you do?". I went on: "I do not need the answer, but your conscience will question you." ... Another big woman held me tightly, I struggled and pushed her out. At that time, she exclaimed: "Where are those guys, come in and search this girl, quickly!". That big woman and she held my body tighly and searched me...
Now, I was frustrated with my eyes full of resentment because of shame, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit, He reminded me of the time Jesus was arrested, beaten and stripped. The exam was completed, she said: "She did not have anything." She said: "She’s stubborn, let her in the camp for 2 days to see if she’s stubborn anymore? Let’s see who’s more stubborn than her. "
Out of the bathroom, I sat on a bench, continued to close my eyes, silent, rosaried and prayed. A dispatched policeman who had recorded in writing the content like this: "A person about 20 years old, long haired ... committed the following violations: One, gathering where prohibited, as Bach Tung Diep park. Two, opposed and did not cooperate with officers on duty. I asked the officer: "Were you at the scene where you made the report on me?", He answered: "Don’t bother!". Finished writing the report, the officer asked: "But there was no one who witnessed her opposition?". One of them said: "Let this militiaman guy be the witnesses." But gradually, militiamen, security policemen, the young polecewoman ... signed the report, except me. The report procedure finished about 16:00 hours.
In the period from 16:00 hr to 17: 30 hr, they did not question me anymore. Looking at the policewoman I felt sorry for her! She was so thirsty her throat was dry but did not dare to go get some drinking water for fear of my "disappearance". She immediately asked a police officer: "I’m thirsty, can you give me a bottle of water?", He asked: "Big bottle or small bottle?", She replied: "Small bottle, please "... He “slashed” at me: "No drinking water for you, let’s see if God gives you any to drink? ", I realized:" That's right, since I was dragged to the police station I have not had anything to eat or drink at all! Really thirsty! My abdomen was making funny noise, but I continued to close my eyes, silent, rosaried and prayed. Suddenly, the militiaman said: "Hey sister, would you like to eat or drink something, please do ask. Otherwise you cannot tell us we don’t offer you any here”. I replied: "Thank you", and felt happy, wondered that militiaman, in some way, I felt you were a good man, huh! But what had hindered his development of the seed of love? He wanted his daughter or son to develop seeds of love or hatred?
Seeing his constant smoking, I asked: "How many cigarettes do you smoke a day?". He answered: "2 packs". I exclaimed: "Gosh! You smoke too much! How many children have you got? ". He answered: "One." I asked: "How old is he/she then?". He answered: "3 years old". I said: "When you smoke don’t you fear her inhaling the smoke which can cause pneumonia?". He replied: "I only smoke at work, at home if I want to smoke, I get out of the house". I said: "That is not enough. Poor the neighbor kids too!". He replied: "No, I smoke when no children around". I said: "I wish your family happy and the baby healthy, okay". He replies: "Thank you."
I asked the young, beautiful policewoman: “ Sister, how long have you been working here?". She replied: "Just recently". I asked: "Are you happy at work?". She said: "I am!". I replied: "Yes, I wish you really enjoy your work!".
About 17:00 hours, the young security policeman who "hosted" me since this morning was on his duty to watch me, and I said to him: "I will be very impressed with you because you have twisted my hands behind me, beat me. Remember that! ". He replied: "I am also impressed by you, because you was too tough." I asked: "I see you’re wearing a wedding ring, so you’ve got some children?". He replied: "Not yet". I say: "ah! I wish your family happy! ". He replied: "Thank you. So are you married yet? ". I asked again: "What did you ask that for?". He replied: "To know. So you can ask me and I cannot ask you? ". I replied: "Brother, I asked you and wished you with a sincere heart and goodwill, and you asked me for my information for the investigation." A moment later, he asked me: "Are you thirsty?". I said: "If you offer me a drink honestly, I thank you and will drink." Soon after, he told the young policewoman nearby to give me her bottle of water which she was drinking.
Young security policeman, let me ask you this. During dinner with your family, you will tell your wife and daughter about how what you do at work. If it was your wife or daughter who was abused in the solid hands of a healthy man, then what would you do right then?
About 18:00 hours, six big and athletic men which included: the young security policeman, 2 militiamen and three others, I did not know who they were, said to me: "Since this morning, you have not declared who you are, what you do and where you live so we need to get your fingers printed. " I replied: "You have no right to get my fingers printed." One of them sitting rolling ink and said: "If you don’t cooperate with us to get your fingers printed, how will we know where youare, what your name is and what you do ... gentle speaking did not work, we will force you." I firmly: "You have no right to have my fingers printed." 3 men rushed in, bent my hands open, the more they tried to bend my hands open, the more tighly I closed my fists. They could not bend my hands open. A moment later, the man with ink roller said: "This cannot work with her, leave it out". They took mugshots of me, I let them. While they bent my hands open, I prayed to God, asking God to help me, my dear God!
They sat to negotiate with me, but I glared at them and refused to agree to their fingerprint procedure. They said: "What’s your name." I replied: "I am a journalist with Vietnam Redemptorist News." A security policeman yelled at me: "Who recognized you're a journalist? Where is your professional/press card? A bunch of bums, and then invite each other to become terrorists ... ". At that time, I looked at them in silence, prayed and believed that: "They can not do anything to harm me because God is present in times of His children who are persecuted."
At that moment, my hands still clenched, the young security policeman twisted my hands behind me, and with one foot I kicked the desk on which the ink and paper were laid, it fell to the ground. With that, what three or four people together, used their strength to bend my hands open, I fell to the ground and prayed to the Lord: "Lord, do not let them hurt me, God!". They used more of their best physics but still could not bend my hands open. Soon after, this spectacled security policeman, not the one I had been chatting to, shouted: "Fuck your mother, God of yours, huh?, this is the Lord of yours, throw it away ..." He immediately took my rosary, which I had strapped to the wrist a few rounds before they forced me. My rosary was broken, so I asked: "You must find me the broken rosary cord. If you can not find me it, God will punish your families. I’m finding the beads in order to save your families. Find me it! ". The young security policeman rushed to find the beads for me. All the beads were there but the cross was broken!
Finally, they said: "We give back your phone, go home." I grabbed the jacket, hat and clothes, I dusted the evil that took place in the police station, because what belongs to someone must be returned to him. I said good bye to the militiaman I talked to, wished him and his family happy always and went home with my heart filled with peace in the love of the Lord.
Security policemen, militiamen, let me ask you this. When you together coercived me where was your masculinity nature? If your wife and children had seen you bullying a weak, helpless woman like me, then what would they have thought about their partner and their fathers, guys?
And I know one thing that you would wonder why this girl was so strong? Because my strength is in the rosary beads, closed my eyes, the silence, the Rosary, prayers and prayed. And, at times you persecuted me, the spiritual power of God was manifested in me. Do you want to have that extraordinary power? then come and see who Jesus is!
I sincerely thank Fathers, Monks, Aunts, Uncles, brothers and sisters, the Fiat group and Family of VRNs for praying for my safety. With deep gratitude.
Anna Trang, VRNs