Authorities question sale of land to Chinese in central Vietnam

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Authorities in the central province of Binh Thuan are investigating the legality of the sale of over 100 hectares of land to a Chinese businessman.

Nguyen Ngoc Hai, chairman of the province's People's Committee, said he has ordered authorities in Ham Thuan Bac District to report on their findings by July 20.

Authorities said that on April 24, Zhong Heng Shan, director of Nguyen Long Son Ltd., Co., sent a letter to Hai, saying that he had signed contracts with Pham Phu Thanh, deputy director general of Rang Dong Group, to buy over 1.2 hectares of rice land in Ham Duc Commune, and 100 hectares of other agricultural lands in Ham Chinh Commune.

Later Zhong paid Thanh VND13.5 billion (US$640,900), but Thanh has yet to give him the land use certificates. Zhong planned to build a factory and a dragon fruit farm on the land.

Meanwhile, speaking to Thanh Nien, Thanh said he was no longer the deputy director general of Rang Dong and denied that he had signed contracts to sell more than 100 hectares of land to Zhong.

He said he only sold the Chinese man the rice land in Ham Duc Commune, adding that he actually founded Nguyen Long Son Company, but later transferred it to Zhong.

However, Thanh Nien reporters found that Thanh represented five families when he did in fact sign the contract to sell the lands in Ham Chinh to Zhong.

The reporters also found that at the end of last year Thanh asked for the district authorities' permission to switch the purpose of the land he owned in Ham Duc from growing rice to selling agricultural vehicles.

But, three days after the authorities allowed him to change the purpose of the 8,522 square meters of the land, Thanh transferred it to Zhong, who already launched his business plans there without permission from the authorities.

The case is being investigated further.

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