7 arrested in Vietnam for fatal brawl over clam fishing between 2 communes

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The seven men who were arrested in Thanh Hoa Province Tuesday following a pitched battle between two communes over clam grounds in which three people were killed. Photo by T.Thanh

The Thanh Hoa police Tuesday arrested seven men after a bloody battle erupted over a long-simmering dispute between two communes over clam grounds in a local river.

Three people were killed and nine others were injured in a pitched battle Sunday morning between around 75 people from Quang Nham and Hai Chau and their accomplices.

Nguyen Van Dat, 24, Dinh Van Ha, 31, Tran Van Quan, 28, and Pham Van Tam, 34, of Quang Nham and their adversaries from Tan Dan Commune, Le Van Hoa, 51, Le Van Linh, 50, and Nguyen Van Tuyen, 26, were taken in.

The latter were fighting on the Hai Chau side.

At around 11 a.m. 60 people from Quang Nham arrived on 30 rafts and 15 people from the Hai Chau side came in a speedboat and two rafts to the disputed clam grounds in the Yen River and started to fight with sticks, knives, iron bars, bricks, and rocks.

To Van Dung, 61, Le Van Hieu, 47, and Le Kim Cuong from the Hai Chau side sustained injuries and fell into the river.

Local authorities and families found their bodies the next day.

Dung's sons To Van Dan and To Van Manh, Hoa, Linh, and Tuyen of the Hai Chau group and Ha and Quan of the rival group were injured.

The provincial Party Committee Tuesday ordered the Party units in Quang Xuong and Tinh Gia Districts where the communes are situated to report about the officials and agencies whose dereliction of duty cause the violence.

It also ordered the police to speedily investigate.

Though the conflict over the clam grounds has been brewing for years, local authorities failed to ensure peace, it said.

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Vu Khoa Viet, chairman of the Quang Xuong People's Committee, told Thanh Nien Tuesday that the failure to prevent the conflict was due to the fact that the border between the two communes is unclear.

He said district authorities can only advise the residents on the conflict. Boundary issues can only handled by the provincial authorities.

"We have prevented [the conflict] a long time. Given their background, they would have found some way [to start the fight]," Viet said when asked why district authorities had failed to take preventive action when they knew that a fight could break out anytime.

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