Tons of dirt dumped on Vietnam man for opposing highway project on his land

By Hoang Son, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Thanh, 56, was rescued after being burried by dirt from a dump truck on April 4. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Nguyen Thanh, 56, was rescued after being burried by dirt from a dump truck on April 4. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

A 56-year-old man suffered serious injuries Saturday after being buried under tons of soil dumped by a truck he was trying to stop.
Nguyen Thanh and his wife, who live on National Highway 1A in the central province of Quang Nam, had been protesting against a project to widen the north-south highway that will take over a part of his land.
Authorities had given in and agreed to the couple’s conditions, which included filling up a pond before starting construction.
But on Saturday the contractor sent a dump truck with soil in violation of the agreement, and Thanh refused to allow the driver to dump the soil.
It happened at around 10 a.m. when many trucks belonging to 545 Construction Company were dumping soil.
In protest, Thanh lay in front of one that had arrived on his land.
“A full load of dirt was dumped on him and we dug for 15 minutes to get him out,” a neighbor who asked not to be named said.
The driver fled before angry residents deflated the truck’s tires, he said.
Police arrived at the scene but Thanh’s family refused to take him to the hospital saying he needed emergency aid right there.
They only agreed to take him to a hospital at around 1 p.m.
Tran Van Xuan, a local police official, said Thanh had agreed to hand over part of his land for widening the highway if authorities issued him a new land use certificate and filled his pond.
Thanh’s wife, Huynh Thi Thao, said the contractor had only filled part of the pond, news website VnExpress reported.
“This morning local authorities met with us and we told them to fill our pond completely before we hand over land for road construction.
“The officials agreed but the contractor sent the trucks to build the road without respecting the agreement.”
The truck driver dumped the dirt despite knowing full well that her husband was lying on the ground, she added.
The police are investigating.

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