4 arrested for fighting police over land revocation in Vietnam

TN News

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Police in the northern province of Quang Ninh have detained four people among those who have been fighting police attempting to confiscate their land for less than US$2 per sqm to make way for an urban project.

Nguyen Van Be, 34, and Nguyen Thi Lan Phuong, 31, were arrested on Saturday.

Tran Anh Tuan, 28, and Tran Van Ky, 52, were taken in the day earlier right after the fight in which many locals threw rocks and wood at police who were guarding the area on December 21, local media reported.

Police said they will be detained and may be charged with "disturbing a public area and traffic."

Kim Son urban area was scheduled to take over 42 hectares of agricultural land from 852 families in Dong Trieu District, but 74 have not agreed to accept the compensation being offered, saying it is way too low.

The holdouts were informed their land would be forcibly revoked on Sunday, December 23, no matter whether they agree to the compensation or not.

Thus, thousands gathered on Friday at the project area, bringing banners and coffins to show their resistance, eventually hurling rocks at the police.

After the arrests, 11 more families have agreed to take the compensation.

But many are still demonstrating on the street while others have filed complaints with relevant government agencies.

Among the group to lodge complaints is Nguyen Duc Hung, 66, whose family is among those standing to lose the most land to the project.


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Tuoi Tre on Sunday cited Hung as saying the biggest problem for local residents is the low price they've been offered for their farmland, which is known to be among the most productive in the province and provides enough earning for locals to feed their families and educate their children.

But now their future is up in the air now that the land will soon be gone for good, with little in return upon which to begin new lives.

"The total payment for my more than 2,000 square meters, plus later job support, is VND298 million (US$14,300).

"That is equal to the crops we could have made in several years, meaning it will only keep my family alive for several years. Then what?" Thuc wondered.

Mac Thi Thuc has been paid more than VND61 million for her 400 square meters of paddy fields, and she is anything but pleased.

"Each square meter only equals a bowl of noodle soup," she told Tuoi Tre.

She said the family's rice paddies used to yield enough rice to at least keep her family from hunger, but now her husband's wages from working construction does not buy enough rice to feed her family.

But Ngo Tien Thieu, vice chairman of Dong Trieu District, said "the compensation is satisfactory."

Thieu said the payment for the land, plants on it at the time, and vocational support can reach VND130,500 ($6.26) a square meter and the farmers will also be given some rice before they leave 180 kilograms of rice per person for families set to have more than 30 percent of their land taken and 360 kilograms a person for families having more than 70 percent.

He called for local people to understand as the project that is taking their land is aimed to develop the local economy.

In Vietnam, all lands are owned by the government and technically people can only buy and sell the right to lease them.

But the government can revoke the right at any time, usually paying compensation.

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