Buckling under 'coercion from authorities', Vietnam's largest tourism complex shuts down

By Do Truong, Thanh Nien News

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The Dai Nam Tourism Complex, the largest in Vietnam, will close for 51 days starting on Monday. The Dai Nam Tourism Complex, the largest in Vietnam, will close for 51 days starting on Monday.


A 450-hectare tourism complex in Binh Duong Province, the country's largest of its kind, will be temporarily closed starting next Monday, according to the owner's website.
The announcement followed a long and complicated dispute between its owner and the local authorities. 
Huynh Uy Dung, the owner of the Dai Nam tourism complex, told Lao Dong newspaper that his company was facing a great deal of pressure from provincial authorities, early this week.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, the head of Binh Duong propaganda department Nguyen Minh Giao told Thanh Nien that the government played no role in Dung's decision to close his tourism complex.
“The provincial government did not hamper his company's operations,” said Giao during a press conference held just hours after Dai Nam announced its closure. "(The closure) was such a pity."
“It's up to the company's owner whether or not he closes his tourism complex. If the law doesn’t prohibit him from doing so, he can shut down operations any time he likes.”
Dung told local reporters that the Binh Duong government has interfered in his affairs since he publicly accused the chairman of the provincial people's committee, Le Thanh Cung, of graft and misconduct last year.
A Government Inspectorate review of his claims cleared Cung of the allegations filed by Dung.
Soon after, Dung, 53, says the provincial People’s Committee revoked his “long term” usage rights over 61.4 hectares of land in the Song Than 3 Industrial Zone.
He further claims his company was perniciously audited by the Taxation department. During the audits, he said, local police repeatedly summoned his employees for questioning about their business activities.
The firm had usage rights over a total of 533 hectares of land in the Song Than Zone as well as the huge tourism complex.
Dung determined to suspend the Dai Nam complex's operations for 51 days starting next Monday.
During the suspension, he said, the complex’s Kim Dien temple will remain open to visitors.
Giao denied Dung's claims and maintains that the provincial inspections were entirely routine and legitimate.
He also says that the audits concerned the company’s real estate holdings and operations of the Song Than 3 Zone, which have nothing to do with the Dai Nam tourism complex.
In 2008, Vice Chairman Tran Van Loi of the Binh Duong People's Committee signed a decision to extend the Dai Nam Company's usage rights over 61.4 hectares of land from 50 years to 70 years.
However, last year the incumbent provincial government revoked the 2008 decision.
Dung appealed the latest decision, arguing that the government could not simply change its mind from term to term.
At the press conference on Tuesday, the head of Binh Duong's Tax Department Le Van Trang called the Dai Nam audits normal and insisted that they could not be described as “difficulties placed on the company”.
“The closure of the Dai Nam tourism complex, for two months or even longer won't affect Binh Duong's budget,” said Trang. “A tourism complex or a business is nothing given that roughly 15,000 companies which maintain sustainable operations in Binh Duong”.
On the same day, Thanh Nien failed to reach any of the Dai Nam’s leaders for comment.
Dai Nam, a VND6 trillion tourism complex, has made eight national records since its opening, including the largest tourism complex, the largest artificial ocean and the largest artificial mountain in the country.
In September, Huynh Uy Dung signed a contract with the HCMC University of Medical Hospital, agreeing to donate portions of the tourism complex's profits to fund free operations to poor children afflicted by heart disease between 2014 and 2030.
The project aimed to treat 1,000 children a year for heart disease.  

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