Voice of Vietnam reporters say police assaulted them during mass eviction

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Two reporters from national radio station Voice of Vietnam say they were assaulted by police during a mass eviction in the northern province of Hung Yen.

Following the eviction in Van Giang District on April 24, a video was posted online showing security forces including uniformed police officers striking residents who had refused government compensation to leave.

Reporters Nguyen Ngoc Nam, 42, and Han Phi Long, 31, confirmed they were among the victims.

Nam says he was handcuffed and brought to the district prosecutors' office; Long claimed he went to a police station to report the incident.

Both reporters have filed complaints with the Hung Yen Province administration. So far, they say, they have received no response.

On Monday, Thanh Nien reporters attempted to contact Hung Yen's Party leader, the administration chairman and the head of the People's Committee.

None of these officials returned calls.

Tran Huy Ngan, director of the Hung Yen Police, declined to discuss the case. Nguyen Xuan Hieu, the police chief of staff, said he is unable to discuss the show because the matter remains under investigation.

The local authorities described the incident as "peaceful." They said 500 police officers had been dispatched to evict 166 families from 5.8 hectares of land for the construction of an urban area complex that had been approved by the central government in 2003.

The authorities claimed that 20 residents were arrested for throwing rocks.

The authorities added that most of the residents had willingly left their homes before the April confrontation. Police had to be deployed to evict those who had refused to leave, said Bui Huy Thanh, the chief of staff at the provincial People's Committee.

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 father 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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