Vietnam metro announces compensation for foreign firms after riots

By Dinh Phu, Thanh Nien News

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Workers at My Phuoc 1 Industrial Zone in the southern province of Binh Duong back to work after riots on May 13-14. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Workers at My Phuoc 1 Industrial Zone in the southern province of Binh Duong back to work after riots on May 13-14. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Ho Chi Minh City authorities will pay VND3.9 billion (US$183,000) to the 32 foreign companies directly affected by riots that broke out during anti-China rallies this month while offering incentives and tax breaks to others.
Le Hong Quan, the city's mayor, made the announcement at a meeting with the HCMC Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority (HEPZA) on Thursday.
A team led by the Department of Finance will continue reviewing damages so the local authorities can provide support to affected businesses, he said.
According to HEPZA, aside from the 32 companies “directly” affected by the violence, another 124 had to temporarily shut down during the chaos and were forced to compensate customers for failing to complete orders in time.
Most of the businesses are located in industrial parts of Thu Duc District.
Aside from paying compensation, the municipal government also ordered customs agencies to work 24/7 to clear the businesses’ imports and exports, Thoi bao Kinh te Sai Gon (Saigon Times) reported.
The city tax department will conduct reviews and prepare to refund value-added taxes for the businesses in addition to offering other incentives, under government orders.
In the meantime, HEPZA said, they would establish 24/7 hotlines at industrial zones to receive information about security, and collaborate with local police and authorities in managing security teams there.
According to HEPZA, the situation in the industrial zones is now stable, but the risk of further outbursts remains and businesses, especially foreign ones, continue to feel insecure.
The organization believes that the uncertainty engendered by the events could delay plans for expansion or further investment.
The industrial outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City were among the four places rocked by riots that erupted ten days ago during protests against China’s illegal deployment of an oil rig in the Vietnamese waters.
A number of foreign companies (particularly Chinese and Taiwanese firms) were vandalized, looted, and had their factories set on fire by workers who were believed to have been paid by criminal instigators.
The provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong in the south and Ha Tinh in the central region also experienced violence.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered officials at every level of the government to tighten security for foreign investors, prevent further riots, and punish violators.
Over 1,000 suspects have been arrested for their roles in the violence and trials are already underway.

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