Authorities in the central city of Da Nang are inspecting recent transactions of prime waterfront real estate on suspicion that Chinese investors have been accumulating land with the help of Vietnamese nationals.
Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of Da Nang People's Committee, confirmed the inspection is being carried out, after one of his subordinates raised the issue at a meeting on Thursday.
Nguyen Dieu, director of the city's environment department, on Thursday said he has alerted investment officials to "suspicious" cases and asked them to trace the money spent on those recent purchases of beachfront property.
He did not say how many dubious purchases have been made, but said that it is a security concern when foreign investors take over many property projects, including homes and hotels, in coastal districts.
It is not clear at this point what the exact problems are with these transactions, but there have been allegations that Chinese investors asked Vietnamese nationals to help them buy real estate, under the Vietnamese' names, to avoid attention.
Phan Huu Thang, vice chairman of Vietnam Association of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, said Vietnam's investment law is now more open to foreign investors, and there is no good reason why Chinese investors should choose to hide their identity.
He urged Da Nang's authorities to tighten their control over coastal real estate transactions, especially when foreigners are involved.
He warned that it will be "extremely dangerous if Vietnam loses its coastal land."
Economist Le Dang Doanh said licensed property projects that may affect national security should be cancelled.
Those foreign investors who dubiously covered up their identities in transactions must be punished, Doanh added.