City resident sues over green fences

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The green barricades frequently erected around work zones in Ho Chi Minh City streets have vexed commuters and shoppers for years, but now someone has finally decided to sue.

Nguyen Tri Dung filed suit at District 1 People's Court, demanding compensation from Chinese contractor Tmec&Chec 3.

Dung claims the green fences the company erected have hindered his business since 2005.

The green segments of corrugated iron sheets have cropped up in areas where workers have dug in to install Ho Chi Minh City's new sewage system.

Many were set up in 2005 and the streets were terrible when they were removed, some just stayed there with little work going on inside.

In the lawsuit, Dung said he rented a shop front from Nguyen Thi Thu Binh to open a restaurant in January 2005.

The business was to represent his family's only source of income.

Dung claims he had to shutter the business in 2007 when a green fence was erected directly in front of the front shop's front enterance.

Dung claims that he had a brief period where he was able to re-open, until the fence came back.

The second time, he claims, the fence remained from November 2007 to May 2009.

Despite the fact that his family is in a dire financial situation, Dung claims he didn't receive any consideration from the relevant agencies though he complained about the situation many times.

He is requesting a settlement of VND252 million (US$13,000)--the money he estimates he would have earned during his restaurant's 42-month hiatus.

Meanwhile, in the same lawsuit, Binh, the owner of the house, has asked the contractor to pay her VND120 million ($6,160). The landlady claims the work caused cracks to form in her house.

The lawsuit was first filed in January but this month, the court suggested Dung and Binh instead sue the HCMC Transport Department and the project managers, as the Chinese contractor doesn't have an office in Vietnam.

Lawyer Huynh Ngoc Hoang from the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Lawyer Bar Association said the government should be held responsible by residents who feel the green fences have affected their income.

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