The fisherman’s war against Vietnam

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Duan1In 1993, the Vietnamese government granted Doan Van Vuon and several members of his family 41 hectares of swampland near the port city of Haiphong. On this land, Vuon and his family were allowed to establish a thriving farm of fish and prawns. The business thrived until 2007, when government officials notified Vuon and his family that they wanted the land back.

Vuon and his family stockpiled homemade shotguns and landmines, created a perimeter around their lot, and prepared for inevitable conviction. In January 2012, a gang of policemen and soldiers arrived ready to repossess the land, and triggered a gunfight. Seven security personnel were injured and Vuon and three members of his family were arrested.

Vuon’s rebellion is a rare act of defiance that inspired a legion of supporters, including Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who stated the family’s eviction was “illegal”.

On July 30, Vuon lost his appeal in a hearing in Hai Phong City against a 5-year jail term for attempted murder. Vuon told the court that he was provoked in taking drastic actions as a last resort after more conventional attempts to resist the eviction orders failed.

“I sent complaint letters – some 100 kilogrammes of letters – to local authorities, provincial authorities, [with no solution forthcoming],” he said in court.

“I told my brothers not to injure the eviction forces… the guns, if shot from a distance of 25 to 30 meters, would not have killed people even with a direct hit,” he added.

The court of appeals also upheld a five-year jail term for Doan Van Qut, Vuon’s brother, but shortened the terms for two other family members by between five and 19 months. Five officers connected to the incident were also convicted for failing to properly execute their official duties. One of the officers was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, while the remaining four were given suspended sentences of 15 to 24 months.

Land rights are a controversial issue in the communist country, where land is entirely owned by the state and rights of use are complicated. According to The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam, 70 per cent of complaints submitted in the first half of 2013 were over land.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

In 1993, the Vietnamese government granted Doan Van Vuon and several members of his family 41 hectares of swampland near the port city of Haiphong. On this land, Vuon and his family were allowed to establish a thriving farm of fish and prawns. The business thrived until 2007, when government officials notified Vuon and his family that they wanted the land back.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Duan1In 1993, the Vietnamese government granted Doan Van Vuon and several members of his family 41 hectares of swampland near the port city of Haiphong. On this land, Vuon and his family were allowed to establish a thriving farm of fish and prawns. The business thrived until 2007, when government officials notified Vuon and his family that they wanted the land back.

Vuon and his family stockpiled homemade shotguns and landmines, created a perimeter around their lot, and prepared for inevitable conviction. In January 2012, a gang of policemen and soldiers arrived ready to repossess the land, and triggered a gunfight. Seven security personnel were injured and Vuon and three members of his family were arrested.

Vuon’s rebellion is a rare act of defiance that inspired a legion of supporters, including Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who stated the family’s eviction was “illegal”.

On July 30, Vuon lost his appeal in a hearing in Hai Phong City against a 5-year jail term for attempted murder. Vuon told the court that he was provoked in taking drastic actions as a last resort after more conventional attempts to resist the eviction orders failed.

“I sent complaint letters – some 100 kilogrammes of letters – to local authorities, provincial authorities, [with no solution forthcoming],” he said in court.

“I told my brothers not to injure the eviction forces… the guns, if shot from a distance of 25 to 30 meters, would not have killed people even with a direct hit,” he added.

The court of appeals also upheld a five-year jail term for Doan Van Qut, Vuon’s brother, but shortened the terms for two other family members by between five and 19 months. Five officers connected to the incident were also convicted for failing to properly execute their official duties. One of the officers was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, while the remaining four were given suspended sentences of 15 to 24 months.

Land rights are a controversial issue in the communist country, where land is entirely owned by the state and rights of use are complicated. According to The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam, 70 per cent of complaints submitted in the first half of 2013 were over land.

Do you like this post?
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