Three police officers, one civilian killed in Hanoi lingering land dispute

By Ba Do   January 9, 2020 | 03:02 pm GMT+7

Three policemen and a civilian were killed Thursday in a clash at a controversial military airport construction site in Hanoi.

A road running through Dong Tam Commune in My Duc District, Hanoi, January 9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Duc.

A road running through Dong Tam Commune in My Duc District, Hanoi, January 9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Duc.

The clash took place a week after some units of the Ministry of National Defense, in collaboration with local authorities, began building a fence for the Mieu Mon military airport in Dong Tam Commune, My Duc District, 40 km (25 miles) south of the capital, the Ministry of Public Security said.

"On Thursday morning, some people resisted, using hand-grenades, petrol bombs and knives to attack police forces, fighting officers on duty and disrupting public order," the ministry said on its website. As a result, three policemen and a civilian died and another person was injured.

"Authorities have launched an investigation into the case and have arrested the lawbreakers," the ministry said.

To An Xo, spokesman of Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security, said the incident in Dong Tam was under control and police forces continue to be present at the scene to maintain stability.

Regarding the number of people arrested, Xo said an announcement would be made later.

At present, construction of the fence is being carried out in line with the land plan covering more than 236 hectares in communes of: My Luong, Tran Phu, Dong Lac in Chuong My District and Dong Tam in My Duc District, Xo said.

The wall being built around Mieu Mon military airport in Dong Mon Commune, My Duc District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress.

The wall being built around Mieu Mon military airport in Dong Tam Commune, My Duc District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress.

Long-standing dispute

The land in question has been a subject of major controversy and a long-standing dispute.

Protestors have said that they were not properly informed that the land was transferred to the military at some point. Generations of villages had been cultivating crops on an area of 50 hectares of 146 acres under dispute, paying land use fees and taxes to the government, they’d said.

While villagers said it was their agricultural land, officials said the land belonged to the military.

In April 2017 the Hanoi police detained four people from Dong Tam Commune for allegedly causing public disorder related to land clearance in their commune. Protesting villagers then held 38 district officials and police officers hostage in a communal house.

The standoff was resolved a week later, but in July 2017 Hanoi investigators said the land in Dong Tam had always belonged to the military.

They proposed that city authorities should instruct the My Duc District People’s Committee to "coordinate with military units to deploy decisive measures forcing citizens occupying military lands illegally to remove their assets and crops and return the land for Viettel to implement defence projects."

While land disputes are not uncommon in Vietnam, it is the first time in years that policemen have been killed in one.

 
 
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