Vietnam police arrest two suspects in northern land-related attack

TN News

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Police in Hung Yen Province in northern Vietnam arrested two men on Saturday for allegedly attacking local farmers on July 12, possibly because the farmers had refused to hand over their land for a development.

Colonel Ngo Xuan Phuong, chief of police of Van Giang District, said Nguyen Tuan Dung, 35, and Dinh Van Huynh, 28, were two of several armed attackers who assaulted the three farmers from Xuan Quan Commune, news website VnExpress reported.

But Phuong said there was not enough evidence that they were employed by real estate developers as the victims had suspected.

"We are looking for other people involved and will bring the case to court," he said.

The attack happened at around 4 p.m. on July 12, when six farmers were observing the construction site of the Ecopark urban area project. They had just visited the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam Farmers' Association to ask about compensation for the project, which was approved by Vietnam's Prime Minister in 2004 to be built on 555 hectares of local agricultural land.

They were then beaten and chased away by around 20 young men holding canes on motorbikes. Two farmers Dam Van Dong and Dam Van Nghiep, 54, were severely injured. Local resident Le Thach Ban, 73, was hit when he opened his door to investigate the commotion.

Dong said this was the fifth time he was beaten by strangers, though he was not involved in any personal conflicts.

The project also stirred up violence on April 24 when around 500 police officers were deployed to force 166 farmers to hand over their land for the project. Those farmers, making up 10 percent of the total number affected by the development, refused to agree to accept compensation rates they said were too small compared to the profits they earned farming.

Two reporters from national radio station Voice of Vietnam said police assaulted them as they covered the eviction from the site.

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Residents attacked by thugs over refusal to sell land in northern Vietnam

In Vietnam, private citizens are only given the land use rights, which can be traded between residents. Those rights can be revoked by the government, so long as the residents are compensated.

In January, a land revocation in Hai Phong grabbed national headlines when a farmer named Doan Van Vuon and his brothers opened fire on armed police and soldiers that had been dispatched to seize his land.

The revocation was later deemed illegal by the Prime Minister.

Vuon has been charged with "staging violent resistance."

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