HANOI , Vietnam, May 14 (UPI) -- Rioters in Vietnam, protesting installation of a Chinese oil rig erected in Vietnamese territorial waters, damaged factories across Binh Duong province.
What began as a protest against China turned into the burning of factories owned largely by Taiwanese and South Korean companies Tuesday night. About 19,000 people were involved in the rioting, Binh Duong's vice chairman, Tran Van Nam said. Foreign businesses across Vietnam assessed the damage to their factories Wednesday.
A staff member of the Chutex Garment Factory, north of Ho Chi Minh City, said 8,000 to 10,000 people took part in the burning of the factory. Police said they "captured" 15 to 20 people
Wednesday, attempting to loot the facility.
Chutex is owned by Taiwanese business interests, and Asian media speculated the rioters indiscriminately targeted foreign-owned (and not exclusively Chinese-owned) companies.
Although damage was extensive, there were few reports of injuries, and no injuries were serious.
A protest of this scope is rare in Vietnam, and began as disapproval over a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea, 140 miles off the Vietnamese coast and near an island claimed by both countries.