Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City push ahead with controversial development plan

Many former residents of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden project are holding out for higher compensation.
By RFA Vietnamese
2023.12.07
The government allowed construction on the land of Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, despite a dispute between the people and the government in Ho Chi Minh City.
Facebook: Pham Thanh Nghien

Nearly half the householders evicted from land set for redevelopment in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City have not yet received compensation, one of them told Radio Free Asia.

In spite of the ongoing dispute between the former residents of Loc Hung Vegetable Garden and Tan Binh district authorities, the city government still sent in workers on Thursday to fence off the land ahead of construction.

Hundreds of builders arrived in the morning to put corrugated iron fences around the site and prevent protesters from occupying the land.

Cao Ha Truc, one of the former homeowners who has still not received compensation, told RFA Vietnamese around 400 people arrived at dawn on Thursday and surrounded the site.

“They brought cars and trucks carrying iron frames and corrugated iron sheets to fence off Loc Hung Vegetable Garden to keep everyone out. 

“Dozens of security guards, called masked security because their faces were covered with masks, approached the door of my house and terrorized my family. Dozens of them are still sitting in front of my house.”

Truc said 106 households had agreed to receive compensation after Tan Binh district authorities raised the offer from VND7,055,000 to VND11,250,000 per square meter (US$290-$463). He said 90 households had still not agreed to the compensation plan.

“People still have the same demands: they want the legal basis for [taking possession of] the land confirmed and they must be compensated for their land,” Truc said.

“People are willing to cooperate with the government on projects or works to serve the people and make the city appear more spacious and prosperous, but it is necessary to consider the history of the city. People must be adequately compensated as prescribed by the law.”

Truc said discussions had not been carried out according to the policies of the prime minister and the Communist Party Central Office.

The land was cleared in 2019, when people were evicted from 503 houses.

The city government plans to start building three schools on the land on Dec. 12, state media reported.

RFA called the landline and mobile number of Nguyen Ba Thanh, the spokesman and Chairman of Tan Binh District People’s Committee, to discuss the dispute but he did not answer.

All land in Vietnam is technically owned by the state but recent land grabs have proved controversial with many residents accusing the government of favoring real estate developers and offering too little compensation.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn.

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