Man hospitalized by guard at Formosa compensation meeting in central Vietnam

By Duc Hung   December 11, 2016 | 04:54 pm GMT+7

A crowd of people gathered outside the commune hall demanding the guard be handed over as tempers ran high.

More than 300 people surrounded a government office in central Vietnam on Saturday after a guard beat a local man during a meeting to discuss the allocation of compensation being paid out by Taiwan's polluting Formosa steel plant.

Authorities in Thach Lac Commune in the central province of Ha Tinh had organized the meeting with heads of local hamlets to allocate Formosa’s compensation package, according to Thach Lac's chairman, Duong Kim Mau.

At the end of the meeting, locals entered the meeting room and asked why they were yet to receive compensation. The commune officials invited some of them to stay so they could explain the compensation policies.

Following conflicting opinions, a guard hired by the commune beat Tran Van Ro, a local man. Ro was taken to a local hospital for treatment following the attack.

More than 300 local people surrounded the commune’s headquarters demanding that the local government hand over the guard who beat Ro.

Police from Thach Ha District have been deployed to control the situation.

Police are urging local people to stay calm during the incident in Thach Lac Commune, Thach Ha District, Ha Tinh Province on December 10, 2016. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

Police are urging local people to stay calm following the incident in Thach Lac Commune on December 10. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

Rumors also circulated that Ro had been beaten by a commune official, which was not the case, said Tran Viet Ha, chairman of Thach Ha District, adding that the crowd dispersed at 7 p.m. the same day.

The commune has listed all those eligible for compensation in this round of payouts, which will begin on Monday. However, many locals also want their relatives, such as students and overseas workers, to be compensated at the same time, and are unhappy that their requests have been refused, said Mau.

In early April, wastewater from the Vietnamese unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group killed tons of fish along some 200 kilometers of Vietnam’s central coastline.

About 41,000 fishermen and over 176,000 people dependent on the industry in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thin - Hue have been affected by the disaster, the government said in a report in July.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel made a public apology and fulfilled its compensation commitment after transferring $500 million to the Vietnamese government in August.

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