An attempted forced eviction of a family in a province in southern Vietnam on Tuesday led to a clash with authorities that resulted in arrests and injuries on both sides in which several people were burned by acid, those who witnessed the event said.
Twenty officers were attacked—two of them stabbed with knives and 18 burned by acid—according to a report in Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Police from Thach Hoa district in Long An province went to the home of Nguyen Trung Can and his wife Mai Thi Kim Huong to evict their family, although sources did not cite a reason for their eviction.
Authorities routinely evict people from their homes in Vietnam to make way for development projects.
The couple remained inside when police arrived, and did not want to let them enter. Nguyen Trung Can reportedly held a bottle of acid to deter police from going in, sources said.
“The police came to evict the people, leading to a clash between two sides,” Phung Thi Xuan Lan, the sister of Phung Thi Ly, another victim of the clash, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
“My sister came out and when she returned, police arrested her. They beat her brutally. I was outside with another sibling and could not witness the whole thing, but I know they beat her really badly. My youngest brother was also beaten brutally.”
Duong Thi Bich Thuy, the daughter of Phung Thi Ly, told RFA that the police had detained some people at the Thach Hoa district police station.
“I wanted to go inside to check whether or not they still detained some people inside,” she said. “I knew they did, but I just wanted to make sure that my relatives were in there. They [the police] did not let me in, so I waited outside.”
Bich Thuy said police arrived at the house in the morning in more than 10 vehicles, and that one of the occupants of Trung Can’s home splashed an officer with acid, prompting the police to attack them.
Trung Can then set his house on fire, while police threw stones inside it, she said.
Bich Thuy said she did not know who threw the acid at the officer, but that a member of Can’s family was also splashed with it.
“Police got inside the house, and they beat people brutally and arrested them,” she said. “Anybody standing nearby was arrested too.”
Nguyen Van Thuy, chief of police of Thach An village, was splashed with acid on his back and taken to Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the report in Tuoi Tre.
Xuan Lan told RFA that Trung Can, Thi Ly and Thi Ly’s son were among those arrested.
State media reported that police arrested all the family members who were involved in the clash.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.