Hundreds of residents broke into the office of a residential area project investor on Tuesday after one of their own was allegedly beaten up for leading protests against pollution coming from the project.
The furious crowd broke the glass doors and windows of the Golden Hills project's office in Hoa Lien Commune and cut off electricity to the building on Tuesday evening.
They also damaged some properties worth around US$96,000, according to representatives from Trung Nam Group, the investor of the project.
The residents suspected the company had hired thugs to attack Nguyen Van Tuan, 40, for stopping a truck from carrying soil and rocks to the construction site.
Tuan was reportedly stabbed and beaten up by five men with scimitars and iron rods at his house Monday evening. The men jumped into two cars to flee the scene after Tuan's wife and son rushed to neighbors' houses to call for help.
Tuan and several locals had previously stopped trucks carrying soil and rocks for site clearance of the project, which has caused serious pollution to the surrounding villages.
On August 26, a truck driver beat up a local after being stopped, the residents said.
The residents gathered at the office of the Trung Nam Group Monday evening to demand that the company hand over the gangsters, but no one was there.
Local police later showed up to keep order.
The residents came back the following morning, demanding that the company answer their questions about the pollution and attacks on locals.
Nguyen Tam Tien, general director of the company, denied the accusations.
Local authorities said a team will be established to inspect the project for alleged violations of environmental regulations, while local police promised to investigate the attacks on locals.