Residents beat up officials, demand release of man in central Vietnam

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A commune chairman in Ha Tinh Province in north central Vietnam and his deputy were hospitalized early Wednesday after beaten up by more than 20 local residents who wanted a local man released from custody.

Nguyen Hung Que, 53, chairman of Yen Loc Commune, Can Loc District, and his deputy Duong Chi Thanh, 51, were attacked at the commune People's Committee office.

Both suffered bleeding injuries on their heads, eyes, backs, legs and arms. Doctors said they are under strict observation for possible brain injuries.

Que said at the hospital that hundreds of protestors came on Tuesday afternoon to demand commune authorities release Dang Van Cong, 27, who was arrested earlier for opposing officials on duty.

The protestors demolished the office, and the violence increased later that night, with the power being cut, despite the presence of security forces, he said.

"They locked us in our room and told us to call the district police and order the release of Dang Van Cong.

"Around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Cong was still at home, so around 20 young men started to beat us with canes and chairs," Quy said.

Local authorities said Cong had worked on land that belonged to the commune office's area. He was asked to go away but he refused and was arrested by Can Loc District Police on Monday.

The protestors who were involved in the assault on commune officials include Cong's family members.

Police are investigating the case further.

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