Vietnam police to prosecute American for causing public disorder - media

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HANOI (Reuters) - Police in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City on Friday issued a prosecution order for an American man of Vietnamese descent for his alleged involvement in a protest over government plans for economic zones last week, state media reported.

William Anh Nguyen, born in 1985, was one of thousands of people who protested on Sunday against a draft law to develop economic zones under which land leases of up to 99 years will be offered to investors. The protesters fear the leases may be snapped up by investors from powerful neighbour China, with which Vietnam has a rocky history.

Nguyen was "gathering and causing trouble" in Ho Chi Minh City and was filmed on camera urging others to climb over barricades, the state-run Vietnam News Agency reported.

Ho Chi Minh police said on their website on Friday that they were dealing with 310 people over the protests and that seven of them were criminal cases. It was unclear if Nguyen was one of the seven.

They said initial investigations showed there were signs of political opponents and reactionary groups having incited people to protest and destabilise the security and political situation.

The protests have come at a time of rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by China.

Vietnam is one of several countries in the region that have claims in the South China Sea, through which an estimated $5 trillion in trade passes each year.

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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