Vietnam fines TikTok influencer for Angkor Wat mix-up

Photo courtesy of Nikkei Asia

In a 90-second TikTok clip that shook the social media scene, Vietnamese influencer Hua Quoc Anh found himself in hot waters after overlaying the Thai flag on an image of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.

The influencer faced a hefty US$300 fine (approximately 10,000 baht) and a stern meeting with the authorities.

Vietnam, known for its tight grip on social media in the one-party state, flexed its censorship muscles in an unexpected arena – a bizarre clash over cultural sensitivity. Quoc Anh’s creative faux pas sparked a frenzy, highlighting the murky waters of online content legality in a nation more accustomed to censoring political or human rights discussions.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson called the incident ridiculous and urged Hanoi to champion free speech rather than fretting over upsetting Phnom Penh.

Robertson suggested a laugh would have sufficed rather than resorting to criminal penalties.

“No one really believes that Siem Reap belongs to Thailand.”

Quoc Anh’s now-deleted TikTok masterpiece featured images of Thai royalty alongside a warm greeting to Thailand, cleverly interwoven with a photo shoot of Angkor Wat’s iconic towers. In the aftermath, he took to Facebook, expressing his emotions with three heart-face emojis and thanking his 250,000 followers.

His rendezvous with the authorities in Ho Chi Minh City became a social media spectacle as he posed outside, sporting long hair and aviator sunglasses. However, the deleted video did not escape scrutiny, with the broadcasting authority accusing Quoc Anh of deliberately falsifying information for clickbait and sparking objections from the online community, reported Nikkei Asia.

Quoc Anh’s punishment went beyond the monetary fine; he was urged to seriously learn from the incident by the Ho Chi Minh City information department, which hosted the meeting. They deemed his video disrespectful of the culture and national sovereignty of neighbouring countries.

In related news, police arrested a Vietnamese man for the murder of his friend in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen. The suspect claimed he stabbed a fellow Vietnamese man to death because he tried to rape his wife.

Thailand NewsWorld News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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