Hai Phong City People’s Court on April 5 handed down jail terms of up to five years to farmers involved in coercive land reclamation in Vinh Quang commune, Tien Lang district, Hai Phong city on charges of “murder and resisting on-duty officials”.

Doan Van Vuon and Doan Van Quy were sentenced to five years in prison each. Doan Van Sinh was sentenced to three years and six months, and Doan Van Ve received two years as stipulated in article 93 of the Penal Code.

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

The verdict presented by the Hai Phong People’s Procuracy recounted that on October 4, 1993, Tien Lang district People’s Committee allocated 21 hectares of coastal wetlands to Vuon for aquaculture in 14 years.

Vuon then encroached farther into 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, Tien Lang district People’s Committee issued Decision 461/QD-UBND to take back the aforementioned plot citing the expiry of its use.

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

On November 24, 2011, Tien Lang district People’s Committee issued Decision No. 3307/QD-UBND to implement Decision 461. Together with relevant agencies, Tien Lang’s authorities informed and explained their decision to Vuon.

Instead, Vuon, Quy, Sinh, Ve, Doan Van Thoai and Pham Thai erected defence fences, planted home-produced mines and fired home-made guns at officials executing the decision, injuring seven.

Thuong and Bau were found to be 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 jury described the defendants’ offences as extremely dangerous, risking the lives and health of others and seriously upsetting local order and security.

The jury, however, cited that their crimes are related to land management and use, which is a complex field. The coercive activities and land reclamation have exposed weaknesses and shortcomings, so that they must consider carefully before handing out the terms.

Hai Phong City People’s Court will open a trial for local officials on charges of “destroying citizens’ property, showing irresponsibility and causing serious consequences” on April 8 in relations with law violations on land use and reclamation in Vinh Quang commune, Tien Lang district.-VNA