Vietnam official killed in land dispute
September 12, 2013 - 7:38:59 am
HANOI: A gunman attacked a provincial government office in northern Vietnam, killing one official and wounding three others in an apparent dispute over land, police said Thursday.
Dang Ngoc Viet, 42, stormed into the land resources development centre in Thai Binh City on Wednesday, opening fire at officials inside, a local police officer told AFP.
The officer did not want to be named and declined to provide further details.
The attacker fled and later killed himself in a local pagoda in the city, located about 100 kilometres or 62 miles southeast of the capital Hanoi, according to the Thanh Nien newspaper.
State-controlled media said the incident could stem from a disagreement over compensation for land taken by the city authorities.
"Viet refused to accept some land in compensation for his family's rice field and asked for money instead," the report in Thanh Nien said.
"The authorities agreed to accept the proposal and there had been no tension between both sides. Viet had never filed any complaints regarding the case," it said.
Land rights are a flashpoint issue in the communist country, where land is wholly owned by the state and rights of use are not always clear or protected.
Campaigners say millions of rural tenants are vulnerable to the whims of local officials, who can reclaim land for vaguely defined "public interest" reasons.
There are daily protests in Hanoi over land grabs in the authoritarian country, where the government severely limits freedoms of expression and association.
Last year a Vietnamese fish farmer became a folk hero after he used homemade weapons to resist forced eviction by local authorities.
The incident, in which seven policemen were injured, became a symbol of growing public dissatisfaction over land rights.
The farmer was jailed for five years for attempted murder and in July lost his appeal. (AFP)