|Authorities of Hải Phòng City visit illegally occupied land area in Hải An District . — VNA/VNS Photo An Đăng|
HẢI PHÒNG — Hải Phòng authorities have demanded the police investigate and handle criminal gangs who allegedly destroyed houses on military land and threatened residents.
The coastal city People’s Committee also asked the People’s Committee of Hải An District – where the property theft occurred – to co-operate with the police and the Air Division 371 to deal with the crimes.
The police received reports of several incidents since late September, in which dozens of gangsters armed with swords, knives and metal rods gathered to demolish houses, change the locks or set up aluminium fences around empty lots along the East-West Boulevard. By doing so on hundreds of land lots, they tried to gain de-facto ownership of the neighbourhood.
The East-West Boulevard, which is in the final stages of construction, was a key urban axis in the city’s master planning. The 20km-long road built with loans worth US$276 million from the World Bank is due to open soon, which is expected to increase prices of land along the boulevard.
Hải An District People’s Committee Chairman Phạm Chí Bắc told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) that the Việt Nam Army General Staff in 1993 agreed to let Aviation Division 371 give part of the military land in Thành Tô Ward to build housing for their soldiers and staff.
The division, however, failed to finish the paperwork at the time so the local administration was unable to grant house dwellers their land use certificates. Many have moved away since then and sold their land to others, though without any paper, Bắc said.
The gangsters recently took advantage of uncertain ownership to raid houses and empty land in the neighbourhood and claim ownership, he said.
“The difficulty is it will take time to track and identify the current owners of the land and to see what they think on the matter. Only then can the authorities move on with legal proceedings to handle the issue,” the official said.
“But it is very possible that the gangsters are already finished with the encroachment and sell off the land by the time the work is completed.”
According to Thành Tô Ward People’s Committee Vice Chairman Đoàn Văn Đông, the authorities managed to identify three gangs involved in the case. They were gangsters operating under ‘Buck-toothed’ Hải, ‘Black’ Hùng and ‘Crippled’ Bình who are all based in Hải An District.
Đông said that the district authorities established a task force to monitor the area but it was unable to keep watch around the clock. — VNS