The Appeal Court of the Supreme People’s Court on July 29 began the appeal trial of six defendants charged with “murder and resisting on-duty officials” in relation with a case of coercive land reclamation in the northern port city of Hai Phong.

The first day of the three-day trial saw the presence of five out of seven victims of the case , who are officials and former officials of Tien Lang district. The two others ha ve sound reasons for their absence.
The six defendants filed their appeal following the first instance trial on April 5, 2013 , during which the Hai Phong People’s Court sentenced Doan Van Vuon and Doan Van Quy to five years in prison, Doan Van Sinh - three years and six months, and Doan Van Ve - two years.

Pham Thi Bau and Nguyen Thi Thuong were given 18-month and 15-month suspended sentences respectively.

According to the statement presented by the Hai Phong People’s Procuracy at the April 5 trial, on October 4, 1993 the Tien Lang district People’s Committee allocated 21 hectares of coastal wetlands to Vuon for aquaculture in 14 years.

Vuon then encroached farther to the sea with an additional land area of 19.3 hectares, which earned him the district’s administrative fine along with the right to continue cultivating the encroached land until October 4, 2007 .

On April 7, 2009 , the Tien Lang district People’s Committee issued Decision 461/QD-UBND to take back the aforementioned plot citing its usage expiry.

Disagreeing with this decision, Vuon brought the case to court which then upheld the above Decision 461.

On November 24, 2011 , the Tien Lang district People’s Committee issued Decision No. 3307/QD-UBND to implement Decision 461, but Vuon refused to comply.

Vuon, Quy, Sinh, Ve and Doan Van Thoai and Pham Thai erected defence fences, planted self-made mines and used home-made guns to fire at those executing the decision, injuring seven officials on duty.

Thuong and Bau were found to get directly involved in erecting defence fences and other activities to make it easier for the above accused to launch attacks against the law enforcement officials.

The court of appeal is scheduled to run until July 31.-VNA