Wednesday , June 7 2023

Grab fined for using map violating Vietnam’s sovereignty

Ride-hailing firm Grab has been fined VND60 million (US$2,577) after using a map that mislabeled Vietnamese islands as China’s on its app.

The decision to fine the company was made in line with a government decree on punishments for violations in telecommunications, information technology, journalism and publishing activities, Vo Thi Thu Suong, chief inspector of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Information and Communication, said Friday.

A Grab representative said at a meeting with the city authorities that a third party provided the map data but Grab has failed to regularly monitor updates, leaving misinformation to go public.

“The department has asked the company to establish measures to prevent similar incidents,” Suong said.

People booking Grab rides discovered the misinformation on the app’s map last weekend.

Among islands in the Truong Sa archipelago, only Son Ca and Sinh Ton were labeled with their Vietnamese names while others carried English or Chinese names, including illegal ones.

Chu Thap (Fiery Cross) Reef, which China has occupied illegally, was labeled as “Nansha District,” the name that China has been using illegally for Vietnam’s Truong Sa Islands.

Vanh Khan (Mischief) Reef was also labeled with the illegal Chinese name Meiji Jiao of Sansha, a city that China established illegally to administer islands including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands).

Last Sunday, the company apologized for the information, with a representative saying the map was provided by a third party, and its violations had nothing to do with Grab’s respect for Vietnam and its people.

“We have taken the complaints seriously and we are sincerely sorry,” the representative said.

Vietnam has consistently affirmed that it has a full legal basis and historical evidence to assert its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

China seized the Paracel Islands from South Vietnam by force in 1974, and has been illegally occupying a number of reefs in the Spratly Islands since 1988.

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