Vietnam gunman confesses to triple murder in Central Highlands land dispute

By Quoc Thang   October 28, 2016 | 02:40 pm GMT+7
Vietnam gunman confesses to triple murder in Central Highlands land dispute
Investigators gathers tools and earth movers used by the employees of Long Son Company. Photo by VnExpress/Q.T

A suspect in the shooting that ended in three deaths and 16 injuries in Dak Nong Province surrendered on Friday morning.

A suspect in the shooting that ended in three deaths and 16 injuries in Dak Nong Province gave himself up to the police on Friday morning after several days in hiding.

Police say they'd been looking for Dang Van Hien, 40, since October 23, the day he and three other men opened fire on a group of forestry workers in Quang Truc Commune.

Authorities say the four alleged attackers are all residents of Binh Phuoc Province and that have long held a grudge against the Long Son Limited Company.

The grudge, they say, began over land disputes that have galvanized the region.

Last Sunday, 33 Long Son employees travelled to the home of Hoang Van Thang, 51, in the forested borderland between Quang Truc and Dak Ngo Communes.

Company officials informed Thang his land had been given to the firm by provincial authorities, while Thang insisted on his right to land he'd farmed for years.

Company officials accused Thang of having illegally occupied the area and proceeded to use earth movers to clear the site.

A group of men arrived to the scene and began obstructing the operation, setting off a clash with Lang Son's employees. Hien and three unidentified accomplices arrived at the conflagration and began opening fire on the workers, killing three and injuring 16 others.

Hundreds of police officers continue to search for the gunmen, who fled the scene.

Dak Ngo Commune official Le Van Minh, said illegal logging and land disputes have plagued the area for years.

"Locals often occupy disputed forest land," Minh said. "Whenever the authorities reclaim that land and assign it to forestry companies, the locals become angry." 

Vietnam does not technically allow land ownership but grants land-use rights, which confer the same rights as freehold property.

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> 3 shot dead, 15 injured in alleged land dispute in Central Highlands

 
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