Vietnam police call noodle seller after ‘Salt Bae’ parody video

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese police have summoned a beef noodle salesman who filmed himself imitating Nusret Gokce or “Salt Bae” a few days after a top Vietnamese official was caught on camera while eating gold-plated steak at Turkish famous chef London- restaurant.

Bui Tuan Lam, 38, from the central city of Danang, said his intention to make the video, which shows him ceremoniously slicing boiled beef and flamboyantly sprinkling green onions in a bowl of noodle soup, was not to mock any particular person.

“The video I made was too funny and to advertise my beef noodle shop. There have been more customers since I posted it,” said Lam, who added that it was not clear if the police call was due to his video.

Last week, Gokce uploaded a video of himself feeding Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security, To Lam, gold-plated steak at his London restaurant, where a steak sells for up to £ 1,450 ($ 1,960).

Days later, Facebook said it had unblocked the ‘#saltbae’ hashtag after finding out that the tag had been blocked globally after the footage surfaced.

Police in Vietnam routinely summon activists and people who are publicly critical of the ruling Communist Party for questioning. Danang’s police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lam, who has previously criticized the authorities on Facebook, said he had “raised his voice for a better society” and that police had previously summoned him to a meeting in April without saying why.

He described himself in a Facebook post uploaded along with the video as “Green Onion Bae”.

Pictures of To Lamb’s golden dinner have attracted attention both on- and offline in Vietnam, where many question how such a high-ranking party official allowed himself to be filmed while indulging in such expensive food in the midst of a government crackdown on corruption.

(Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Martin Petty)

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