* Anti-China protests turn angry, factories targeted
* Extent of damage unknown
* China's embassy warns businesses, citizens
HANOI, May 14 Rioting broke out at industrial
zones in southern Vietnam during protests by thousands of
workers angered by Chinese oil drilling in a contested area of
the South China Sea, officials said on Wednesday.
Workers smashed gates in the rioting on Tuesday and entered
industrial parks housing factories in Binh Duong and Dong Nai
provinces, which are central to Vietnam's sizable manufacturing
The destruction comes amid high tensions between China and
Vietnam, which have close trade and political ties despite a
history of incursions and territorial battles that are the
source of deep resentment among Vietnamese.
Vietnam's state-run newspapers and its television channels
reported the rioting on Wednesday, but did not show photographs
or any video footage.
"About 19,000 workers were demonstrating against China's
violation of Vietnam's territorial waters," Tran Van Nam, vice
chairman of Binh Duong people committee, told local reporters.
"Some workers turned angry, destroying companies' gates and
entering the compounds and asking other workers to join a
The Council of Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam said
the riots on Tuesday had caused big losses to Taiwan firms,
among them Formosa Plastics Group, which said its unit's
facilities in Dong Nai were damaged by looters..
China advised its citizens and businesses in Vietnam to take
"China's embassy in Vietnam once again reminds Chinese firms
and staff in Vietnam to take security precautions and avoid
unnecessary trips outdoors," the embassy said in a statement
dated Tuesday on its website.
The rioters are believed to have mistaken Taiwanese firms
for mainland Chinese-owned companies. Witnesses said those firms
had put up signs declaring they were not Chinese.
The Formosa Plastics unit, whose shares are not listed, has
invested $500 million building a petrochemical and fiber project
last year, according to Taiwanese media.
The incident came after a weekend of rare rallies in
Vietnam's biggest cities against China's actions.
The riots started with a protest on Monday by about 7,000
footwear and garment workers, who marched past Chinese
businesses waving flags and demanding the removal of an oil
drilling rig from near the disputed Paracel islands. Workers
went on the rampage the next day, according to state media.
Pictures on social media showed smashed windows and plant
pots, believed to be from the industrial park. Reuters could not
independently verify the images.
Vietnam and China have has accused each other of ramming
their ships near the Paracels over the past 10 days. The United
States has called for restraint and described China of being
provocative, prompting a rebuke from Beijing.
A police officer in Binh Duong province reached by telephone
declined to give any new details but said an investigation was
underway. A provincial state official overseeing industrial
zones also declined to comment.
The People's Police newspaper, run by the Ministry of Public
Security, said hundreds of policemen had been deployed to
monitor the situation, stop those who incited the crowd, and
protect corporate property.
It did not say if any arrests had been made.
Firms from numerous Asian counties, including China,
Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan have set up shop in Binh
Duong, which along with provinces of Dong Nai and Long An, form
an industrial hub in southern Vietnam.
(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh and Nguyen Phuong Linh and Faith
Hung in Taipei; Editing by Martin Petty and Raju Gopalakrishnan)