GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) – The family of an Orange County printing company owner who has not returned from a trip to his native Vietnam fears he may have been imprisoned by Vietnamese authorities.
Michael Phong Nguyen, 54, was scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles International Airport on July 16. However, when his wife, Helen Nguyen, went to pick up her husband, he was not there, the Orange County Register reports.
Along with friends and relatives, she fears that Nguyen is being detained by the Vietnamese government.
Friends in Vietnam recently posted on social media that the American citizen had been arrested, but details about where and why weren’t clear. The last Helen Nguyen heard from Michael Phong Nguyen was July 6.
Over the past two weeks the family has reached out to U.S. legislators and the Vietnamese government, as well as English language and Vietnamese language media, and others, to raise awareness about Michael Phong Nguyen’s disappearance.
“I fear for his safety,” Helen Nguyen, a nurse at UCI Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente hospital, told the Register Tuesday. “I really want my husband back. And the children want their dad back.”
Michael Phong Nguyen moved to the U.S. in 1975, the year that communists took over the divided nation. He owns a printing company in Garden Grove and travels to Vietnam once or twice a year to visit family and friends, said his brother-in-law, Mark Roberts.
Relatives said they are unaware of Michael Phong Nguyen being involved in any anti-Vietnamese political activities or protests, which are not welcomed in Vietnam and could potentially lead to arrests, according to the Register.
In recent days, the family has reached out to several legislators, including Congresswoman Mimi Walters, who represents the 45th District. A spokesman for Walters said her office is working for Nguyen’s return.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)