Reporters assaulted during land eviction in Vietnam
POLICE and security guards beat two Vietnamese state radio reporters who were watching them evict farmers from their land to make way for a massive privately built housing project, state-controlled media reported on Tuesday.
A video earlier posted on YouTube showed police and guards beating and kicking two helmeted men during the high-profile eviction last month. The Thanh Nien newspaper reported on Tuesday that the men were Nguyen Ngoc Nam, chief of political and economic news at the Radio Voice of Vietnam, and staff reporter Han Phi Long.
It said Nam was handcuffed and taken to a district prosecutor’s office while Long went to local police to report the beating.
The two reporters and the national radio station have asked the provincial government for an explanation, but it has yet to respond, the newspaper said.
The reporters and provincial officials were not available for comment on Tuesday.
Land rights cases have attracted increased attention in recent years as farmers have been pushed off their land to make way for projects ranging from industrial parks to luxury golf courses.
In the April 24 eviction in Hung Yen province near Hanoi, about 3,000 police and militiamen, many in full riot gear, overpowered more than 1,000 villagers, witnesses say.
Authorities detained 20 villagers, and five remain in custody.
A total of 166 families were evicted from 5.8 hectares (14 acres) of land, part of 72.6 hectares (180 acres) allocated for the second phase of the housing project.
Viet Hung Company Ltd, a private company, was awarded a contract in 2004 to develop an ‘Ecopark’ satellite city covering 500 hectares (1,235 acres) in three villages.