Police in Hung Yen Province are detaining 20 people who fought back when the government evicted them from their farmland Tuesday.
Around 500 police officers were sent to Van Giang District to revoke 5.8 hectares of agricultural land. Two police received slight scratches from people throwing rocks at them.
The land is being reclaimed and the farmers’ fields leveled for a major real estate project.
Bui Huy Thanh, the office head of the province People’s Committee, said “Police have arrested 20 people for extreme acts.”
He said they were “investigating people who led the fight” and had seized many sacks of bricks and stones that were used as weapons.
Later on the same day, the land was transferred to Viet Hung Urban Investment and Development, the investor of the US$6 billion Ecopark, a commerce and service urban area project approved by the government in 2003 to be built on 499 hectares, plus 55 hectares of roads connecting it to Hanoi.
Thanh said most of the land for the project had been handed over by locals previously, but some refused to receive the compensation of VND1.2 billion (US$576) per hectare, so the province had to use police force to take the land.
“The revocation was totally peaceful. There were no soldiers or gun fights,” he said in a report by news website VnExpress.
Dang Van Du, a local farmer who rejected the offer of VND120 million for his 0.1 hectare bonsai garden, told Tuoi Tre that his family “was given 0.1 hectares and we planted bonsai trees worth VND120-130 million each, but now all have been dug up.”
Thanh said the conflict between locals and the project began in 2004, when residents registered their first complaints about low compensation and the legitimacy of the project, with some demanding that it be canceled and the land returned to farmers.
“That is a totally unacceptable demand since the project was approved and directed by the Prime Minister, and related authorities have studied carefully the legitimacy of the project and have come up with a correct compensation amount for the farmers,” he said.
In Vietnam, the government owns all land. People are only given land use rights, which can be traded among residents. The land can be revoked under government orders with some compensation paid.
In January, a land revocation in Hai Phong grabbed national headlines for weeks after Doan Van Vuon and his father shot back at armed police and soldiers who came to implement the revocation, which was later deemed illegal by the Prime Minister.
Vuon is still facing charges for his violent resistance.
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