Northern Vietnam commune heads suspended in land scandal

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The Chairman and the Party head of a Vietnam northern commune have been suspended as punishments continue to be dealt out for involvement in a controversial land revocation last month.

Le Thanh Liem, chairman of the Vinh Quang Commune People's Committee in Hai Phong, and Pham Dang Hoan, chief of the commune's Party and legislative units, were recently accused of paying a group of locals to destroy two houses owned by a farmer on the revoked land.

Probes have been launched into the razing of the houses, as well as the disappearance of the farmers' livestock and fish after the revocation on January 5.

The suspension was a response to a conclusion by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at a meeting Friday that the land revocation  violated Vietnam's Land Law. Dung instructed Hai Phong to quickly punish people responsible so that the case is closed by the end of March, said Duong Anh Dien, chairman of Hai Phong municipal government, in a statement.

Dien has asked the Tien Lang District government to prepare documents to let farmer Doan Van Vuon and his brothers continue using the land, and consult with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment if necessary.

He also admitted that mistakes were made by the city government in approving the revocation proposal of the district, and then being late to solve the problem.

The chairman said the responsibility of each individual in the city government will be clarified within next month.


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Last week, chairman of Tien Lang District Le Van Hien was suspended for ordering the revocation. His deputy received the same punishment.

Hai Phong police are also investigating Vuon and his three brothers for charges of "murder" and "resisting officials on duty." They were ordered to seek mitigating circumstances on the charges.

During the revocation, Vuon and his brothers protested violently with hand-made mines and improvised guns, injuring six out of around 100 police officers and soldiers.

According to Tien Lang Seafood Breeding Association, Vuon had many times asked for help from the unit in dealing with the revocation decision, which was announced to him several years back.

But Vuon did not receive the unit's support when the revocation  came on January 5, so he fought back, said the association vice chairman Luong Van Trong in a Monday report by news website VnExpress.

Also on Sunday, the Tien Lang Military Unit was rebuked for dispatching too many police and soldiers to the revocation without consulting the city government.

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