Multiple violations overlooked at HCMC golf club

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A golf club which was illegally constructed along the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City has been allowed to operate since 2005 despite official knowledge of its violations, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Friday.

The Him Lam Club was built upon a 31,300-square meter "golden land lot" that runs 150 meters along the river. Besides a golf course, it also houses a restaurant, coffee shops, apartments for lease and other sports facilities, the report said.

Although the authorities only approved the construction of a two- or three-story building on the lot, the project, which was developed by military-run Ba Son Shipyard and Him Lam Corporation, built one with five stories.

The Ho Chi Minh City Construction Department in a 2006 report said the project had also violated another regulation, which bans construction activity within 50 meters of either side of the Saigon River. The golf course is only 5.7 meters away while the restaurant is just 3.22 meters from the river.

In another report submitted to the People's Committee a year later, the Construction Department said the developers of the Him Lam Club need to be forced to demolish any structures that violate regulations.

The Tuoi Tre report quoted an official at the department as saying that the People's Committee has not taken any action in the issue.

The newspaper also cited a recent official document signed by People's Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Thanh Tai, which said a demolition, "in principle", is required.

According to the Construction Department, it has imposed fines of VND44 million (US$2,250) on the project. It also noted that as the land lot is managed by the military, it took longer to deal with project violations.

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