Three policemen lost their lives in a riot on the outskirts of Hanoi this morning [January 9] as rioters protested the fencing of a military zone, part of which some locals claimed ownership.
Some military units, in coordination with police and government authorities, on December 31, 2019 started to build fences to protect Mieu Mon airport in Dong Tam commune, My Duc district, some 52 kilometers from downtown Hanoi.
| Entrance to Dong Tam commune on Jan. 9. Photo: Vu Han/Thanh Nien|
The deaths were caused as some rioters used grenades, Molotov cocktail, machetes and other weapons to attack the armed and law enforcement forces, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has said in a statement.
Besides, one rioter died and another was injured, the ministry added.
The authorities arrested the law breakers and started criminal proceedings in compliance with law.
Construction of the fences continues as planned, according to the statement.
| Statement of the MPS.|
Major General To An Xo, head of the MPS’s Office, was quoted by VnExpress as saying that the incident in Dong Tam is “under control” and authorities maintain their on-site presence to “stabilize the situation.” He did not elaborate on the number of people under arrest.
The property, originally planned to build Mieu Mon military airport, expands on an area of 236 hectares on four communes of Chuong My and Dong Tam districts. The Ministry of National Defense handed the property over to military-run telco Viettel to manage and develop it for defense purposes. A military unit has been tasked to build concrete fences of more than 1,000 meters in length to protect the property.
| Part of the fence around Mieu Mon airport. Photo: VnExpress|
Land disputes in Dong Tam commune have persisted for years. Hanoi police on April 15, 2017 arrested four people, who protested local authorities seizing the land, for causing public disorder. The incident prompted a number of Dong Tam residents to destroy five vehicles, including one police truck, and held 38 officials and policemen under custody.
The officials and policemen were freed a week later after Hanoi mayor Nguyen Duc Chung hosted a dialogue and promised to clarify the origin of Mieu Mon airport whether the land belonged to the military or had been dedicated to farming purposes, and investigate the arrest of the four residents.
In July 2017, the Hanoi Inspectorate concluded that “all the area of Mieu Mon airport lying under jurisdiction of Dong Tam commune is military property” and some locals illegally occupied part of the land for farming and housing purposes. In protest of that conclusion, Le Dinh Kinh, representing the land claimers, requested the Government Inspectorate to verify it.
Late in April 2019, the Government Inspectorate confirmed the previous conclusion of Hanoi inspectors, and informed the inspection results to residents in the communes that have boundaries with Mieu Mon airport.
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