Driver probed for running excavator over land protester in northern Vietnam

By Vu Ngoc Khanh, Thanh Nien News

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A scene from a video shows people chasing the driver of an excavator as he ran it over a woman during a land protest in Hai Duong on July 10, 2015. A scene from a video shows people chasing the driver of an excavator as he ran it over a woman during a land protest in Hai Duong on July 10, 2015.

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Police in the northern province of Hai Duong are investigating a man accused of running an excavator over a woman who protested the compensation offered to her by a construction project.
A source from the police said they are questioning Nguyen Van Sinh, 42, to find out if he was linked to the project developer. 
A video taken by other protesters showed Sinh drove the machine over the body of Le Thi Cham as she joined 100 other villagers to protest the construction of an industrial park in Cam Giang District.
Locals said her right arm was broken, her skull and jaw bone cracked and her eyes were bruised after being pressed under its track.
The province’s general hospital received her that morning but said it transferred her to Hanoi in the afternoon as she became critical.
But sources later said she has recovered. Local media released photo of a woman identified as Cham drinking milk at a Hanoi hospital.
Police in Hai Duong at the beginning denied that the incident happened, saying they needed to check the authenticity of the video. Nguyen Trong Hien, the district’s deputy police chief, said at a press briefing that “she couldn’t have stayed alive if that happened.”
The industrial park, invested by a subsidiary of the joint venture developer Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks, is set to take over 208 hectares (514 acres) of land from 1,500 families.
But 115 of them are still refusing the compensation payouts offered to them, which is around VND65,000 a square meter for their lost farmland. That rate, according to them, is too low to really compensate what they could earn from the land by farming.
In Vietnam, all land is owned by the state and people only receive the right to use land. The law allows the government to revoke these rights if necessary, usually after paying compensation.
Land clearance for construction often triggers conflicts and sometimes even violence.

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