Vietnam city delays land revocation after scandal

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Following the now infamous Tien Lang land revocation that turned violent last month, authorities in the northern city of Hai Phong have announced that they will postpone all decisions on the expected revocation of expired aquaculture swampland leases beginning Saturday.

According to an announcement by the Hai Phong People's Committee on Friday, the revocation will be delayed until the government and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issue new regulations.

The committee also asked local district governments to review all the lands that have been allocated to farmers under the government's plan to reclaim swampland in the district. They were ordered to report to the committee by February 29.

City authorities made the move after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung condemned Tien Lang District's decision to revoke the land of 54-year-old Doan Van Vuon as illegal.

Speaking earlier this month, he also called the district authorities' leasing of the 19.3-hectares to Vuon in 1997 under a 14-year term as illegitimate.

Following Dung's conclusions, Tien Lang authorities withdrew their decision against Vuon. Meanwhile, the Hai Phong's People's Committee dismissed Le Van Hien, chairman of Tien Lang, and vice chairman Nguyen Van Khanh, from their positions.

Other officials who were involved in the revocation that turned violent on January 5 Hoang Dang Chinh, chief of the district's military command, Le Van Mai, chief of district's police division, and Bui The Nghia, secretary of the district's Party Unit have also received warnings.

That day around 100 soldiers and police officers from Tien Lang District stormed Vuon's land to force the revocation.


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However, Vuon and his family resisted, having been led to believe earlier that a compromise had been reached where Vuon would no longer be asked to vacate the land. They resisted the police and soldiers with improvised shotguns and homemade mines, injuring six policemen and soldiers.

After the encounter, Vuon's two houses were razed to ground by some locals who claimed that they were paid by local authorities to do so.

Police are currently investigating the accusations, while Vuon and his family are being investigated on charges of attempted murder and opposing officials on duty.

The case has not only drawn public criticism of local government decisions, but has also inspired various officials and experts to consider amending the laws on land management.

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