Abuse of Power Provoked Violent Confrontation in Vietnam

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State prosecutors have brought criminal charges against 14 local officials for their involvement in one of Vietnam’s most volatile land disputes.

The indictments amount to a rare acknowledgement by the Communist authorities that abuse of power helped provoke a violent confrontation in Dong Tam commune near the capital in April.

Villagers in the rural district took more than 30 local officials and police hostage in a long simmering dispute over land tenure.

Dispossessed farmers across Vietnam have long alleged that corrupt local officials seek to profit by selling land to developers.

The prosecutors alleged that 14 officials in the wider district of My Duc, south-west of Hanoi, had wrongfully allocated land and caused the public unrest in April.

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They include the senior officials in charge of local land management and natural resources, commune leaders and the chief of local police.

They are accused of abuse of power and dereliction of duty.

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