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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Actor quits Vietnam for US
We Were Soldiers
Duong's role in We Were Soldiers was denounced
A Vietnamese actor who was labelled a traitor for taking part in the Mel Gibson movie We Were Soldiers has left Vietnam to live in the US.

Don Duong and his family departed the country on 9 April with immigrant visas, the US embassy in Hanoi said.

In September last year, Duong, 45, was placed under virtual house arrest after Vietnam's Ministry of Culture and Information denounced his work.

The authorities had seized his passport and recommended that he be forbidden from leaving the country and banned from acting for five years.

Once one of Vietnam's top stars, Duong had been heavily criticised for his role in We Were Soldiers which portrays the 1965 battle of la Drang.

Officially banned

The film was banned in Vietnam for "distorting historical reality" in its depiction of the first major set-piece clash between US troops and the North Vietnamese Army.

Duong had also been attacked for performing in Green Dragon, starring Patrick Swayze, which tells of Vietnamese refugees who fled in 1975 for the US.

Both movies are officially banned in Vietnam but pirate copies are widely available.

Three months after targeting Duong, the authorities denied he had been persecuted.

Nguyen Phuc Thanh, the culture ministry's director of cinematic affairs, said in December: "Don Duong is still a free citizen. There is no discrimination on his case."

Duong had lived in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, with his two sons, aged 11 and 16.

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