An increasing number of foreigners, mostly Chinese, have flocked to the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, some of whom were assisted by locals in defying laws to own property there, municipal authorities have admitted.
Most of the Chinese, both tourists and laborers, chose to come to Ngu Hanh Son District, prompting local authorities to strengthen their control over residential issues, Dao Tan Bang, secretary of the district’s Party Committee, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Sunday.
The coastal district of Ngu Hanh Son, fronting the East Vietnam Sea, has received some 129,000 international tourists, nearly 65,000 of whom are Chinese, in the year to date, according to the official.
There are charter flights, operated by the Silver Shores Co. Ltd., to bring passengers from some Chinese localities to the Vietnamese city on a weekly basis.
The resort operator Silver Shores, which has a Chinese director, is the developer of the five-star JW Marriott Hotel, an under-construction project intended to serve the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, to be hosted by Da Nang in October 2017.
Most of the Chinese visitors to Da Nang either stay at the Silver Shores Hoang Dat resort or work for the hotel construction project, Bang said.
The contractor of the JW Marriott Hotel, China’s Sichuan Hua Shi Co. Ltd., last month won approval to bring 300 Chinese laborers to the project, raising concern among local experts and members of the public.
The rising number of Chinese visitors has in fact caused myriad problems for Ngu Hanh Son District, Bang admitted.
As of the end of November, the district’s administration had handled 11 cases in which foreigners violated the rules on security and social order, highlighted by a US$20,000 Chinese-related fraud, according to the official.
“There are also cases in which Chinese nationals worked without a permit, as they only had a tourist visa,” Bang added.
The Ngu Hanh Son administration has fined a contractor for using 64 unlicensed Chinese laborers, whereas a guesthouse operator was also sanctioned for providing accommodations for 30 illegal Chinese workers with tourist visas.
There are some 20 houses and small hotels that are exclusively leased by the Chinese to lodge their workers and engineers in the district’s My Khue Ward, according to a Tuoi Tre survey.
Authorities have also discovered that 71 local residents had bought a total of 137 plots of land in the area on behalf of Chinese nationals, Bang revealed.
“Local authorities had detected these transactions just in time and came up with appropriate solutions for handling them,” Bang said.
“The Ngu Hanh Son administration will tighten residential management in the coming time and strictly penalize foreigners who violate the law.”
Vietnam currently does not permit foreigners to make land use transfer transactions, and they are only allowed to own apartments or houses for 50 years with a one-off term renewal, according to the new law on housing that took effect on July 1 this year.
Paying locals to do the job for them is a trick commonly employed by foreigners to bypass such regulations.
In September, the Da Nang Department of Natural Resources and Environment also warned that many Chinese nationals had provided money for Vietnamese people to acquire land plots along the beach on their behalf.
“We will stop foreigners with tourist visas from illegally working or staying in Da Nang,” Bang promised.