Fish farmer's foiled defence strategy

2013-04-05 20:35
Fish farmer Doan Van Vuon listensto the verdict at the local People's Court in the northern coastal city of Hai Phong, Vietnam. (Vietnam News Agency, AFP)

Fish farmer Doan Van Vuon listensto the verdict at the local People's Court in the northern coastal city of Hai Phong, Vietnam. (Vietnam News Agency, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hanoi - A fish farmer, who became a cult hero in Vietnam after fighting off an illegal eviction with home-made guns and mines, was jailed on Friday for five years for attempted murder in a case that has stirred public anger over state-backed land grabs.

Doan Van Vuon, plus two of his brothers and one nephew, were given jail terms of between two and five years for injuring seven police and soldiers in northern Haiphong last January, state media reported.

Two of their wives received suspended sentences of 15-18 months for resisting officials.

Land grabs, both legal and illegal, are a major source of public discontent with the state in Communist Vietnam, which owns all the country's land.

The case has been a major talking point in social media and blogs, with critics calling for changes in land laws.

The government offered land leases of 20 years to farmers as part of pro-peasant policies in the 1990s, but critics say corrupt state officials have allowed illegal seizures in return for kickbacks from businesses.

State television showed footage this week of the courtroom displaying the cooking gas cylinders, electrical cables and steel pipes Vuon and his relatives used for bombs and hand guns.

The authorities in Haiphong have admitted their eviction was unlawful and several officials face trial next week.

Tran Dinh Trien, a defence lawyer in the trial, said Vuon had no intention of causing harm and had exercised all legal means to protect his land before staging his spectacular display of resistance.

"I had warned them that I would resist. It pained me to have to criminalise this civil issue, so that the agencies would look into it," Trien quoted Vuon as saying in a Facebook posting.

Rapid economic growth, foreign investment and industrial expansion has made land highly lucrative, and Vietnamese who dare to criticise a government that responds harshly to dissent say it has allowed abuses of broad clauses in leases that allow land seizures for reasons of national security, defence, economic development and public interest.

Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the lengths to which Vuon went should serve as a wake-up call for the government about a growing problem.

"The issue of widespread arbitrary land seizures by corrupt officials or without due process and just compensation is what really made this trial resonate in the minds of ordinary Vietnamese people," he said.

Read more on:    hrw  |  vietnam

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.