Inside the secretive villa that a Russian couple built illegally in central Vietnam

By Que Ha, Thanh Nien News

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Russian tourists visit the villa. Photo: Que Ha

For the last three years, a secluded villa in a small village near the resort town of Phan Thiet has attracted many curious eyes. 
Local residents say they have suspected that something is wrong, but the house is completely separated from the outside world with strong, solid fences.
There are always four German shepherds guarding the front gate to scare away any strangers. 
Buses carrying Russian tourists usually come to the residence at 10 a.m. every day. Then they leave around 3 p.m. 
On Thursday, when a team of inspectors visited the villa, they found that its owner Zhigulev Eduard, 45, and his wife Kyrstya Ekaterina, 36, have breached so many rules.
They built the house in Thien Nghiep Commune without any approval from Binh Thuan Province. They took many tourists in for home tours without a license. And both their temporary residence cards have expired -- one recently and one in 2013. 
The inspection was made following Thanh Nien’s report on the suspicious villa.
Thanh Nien reporters managed to get into the villa on Wednesday and found that a gallery with photos and artifacts of wars from Vietnam and Russia is opened inside the villa.
There are also many kinds of medicine displayed in the house, but it is not clear if the medicine is for sale. 

German shepherds guarding in front of the villa. Photo: Que Ha
According to the inspectors, the villa was built on a 3,000-square-meter land plot that the couple bought three years ago. They managed to do so by hiring a Vietnamese to make the purchase. 
Notably, the couple, who run a sports equipment store in Phan Thiet, did not have any construction permit.
They had reportedly been fined one for the illegal construction, but somehow the villa was allowed to be completed. 
The inspectors also established that the couple did not have any licenses for running tours, opening galleries or selling medicine. 
They have reported the case to provincial authorities. 

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