Fugitive held in Singapore

Phan Van Anh Vu is wanted in Vietnam for allegedly revealing state secrets.

Vietnam’s domestic battles have again spilled over into a third country, with the detention in Singapore of a fugitive property developer and former intelligence officer.

Lawyers told foreign media that Phan Van Anh Vu was detained last week at a border checkpoint as he tried to cross from Singapore to Malaysia.

He is wanted in Vietnam for allegedly disclosing state secrets, according to reports in Vietnam’s state media.

Vietnam infuriated Germany last July by allegedly sending agents to kidnap another wanted businessman, Trinh Xuan Thanh, who now faces a possible death sentence at home. Germany says that Thanh was seized by armed spies in a Berlin park, driven out of the country and bundled onto a plane for Hanoi.

Political asylum

Vu, a property developer in Vietnam’s booming third city of Danang, went missing late last year.

Newspapers later quoted Danang police as saying that he was wanted for revealing state secrets, but they gave no further details.

Vu’s family members were quoted as saying that he had previously worked for state intelligence.

His lawyers in Singapore said they had been denied access to their client who they fear could be repatriated to Vietnam.

He is reported to be seeking political asylum in Germany.

There is speculation that Vu had close ties with the former Communist party boss in Danang, Nguyen Xuan Anh, who was dismissed from his posts last October.

Observers suspect a connection with a larger anti-corruption campaign, which has targeted networks loyal to rivals of the current leadership in Hanoi.

Trinh Xuan Thanh is due to go on trial later this month on charges of embezzlement.

The General-Secretary of the Communist party, Nguyen Phu Trong, has stated repeatedly that the fight against corruption is his top priority.

Analysts say the campaign has helped him consolidate power following his unexpected reselection for a second term in office at the party congress in 2016.