Chinese nationals are suspected to be behind the purchase of multiple land plots very close to Nuoc Man Military Airport in Ngu Hanh Son District in the central city of Da Nang, according to a recent Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper probe.
The area, which is separated from the military airport by a system of fences, has been sold to multiple Vietnamese residents, most of whom are among the poorest people in the local community, in addition to ‘joint ventures’ in which Vietnamese are minor stakeholders compared to Chinese nationals.
Le Tan Nghia, chairman of the People’s Committee of Khue My Ward, where the land is located, told Tuoi Tre that although there is no proof to say Chinese nationals are behind the land purchases, it is unusual that dozens of land plots have been bought by people in economic difficulty.
According to Tuoi Tre findings, among the people who have purchased dozens of land plots is one man, Ly Phuoc Cang, from Hoa Vang District who has spent VND50 billion (US$2.2 million) on 12 subdivisions.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, secretary of the Duong Son village where Cang resides, told Tuoi Tre that Cang’s family lives among a group of the poorest people in the village.
"I can assert that Cang has never had enough money to buy dozens of land plots at the same time,” Thanh said.
The entire assets of Cang’s family, when sold, would not be enough to buy even half a land plot there, he added.
V., Cang’s mother, confirmed to Tuoi Tre that the earnings of Cang’s family are just enough to make ends meet, and she often gives away some money to her son’s family.
The Tuoi Tre findings revealed that seven firms own 246 land plots in the area, 26 individuals have bought a total of 74 plots, and 95 others own one each.
Sources from the Da Nang administration confirmed that many companies buying the land plots are joint stock firms, with majority stakes held by Chinese citizens.
Khue My Ward chairman Nghia said most of these companies have not been operational for a period long enough for local authorities to know about their areas, establishment, and purpose of buying the land pieces.
He added that the People’s Committee of Khue My Ward had not received any records or paperwork on the transfer of those land plots from Vietnamese people to Chinese.
"In theory, we have not found any Chinese buying land in their own names, but we are on guard as many areas along the coast, including many restaurants and hotels, have a strong Chinese presence," Nghia said.
On high alert
Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of the Da Nang People's Committee, said the local administration will strictly manage the construction, planning, and land purchases in Ngu Hanh Son District.
According to regulations, foreigners are currently not permitted to buy land, he said.
The area near Nuoc Man Military Airport in Ngu Hanh Son District is zoned for villa construction, but many local people have bought two or three plots next to each other and are seeking permission for constructing high-rise buildings, Tho said.
The city is revising the planning to allow for the construction of two-to-three-story villas only, as they are located in military areas, Tho added.
Nguyen Dieu, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Da Nang, said that behind the land purchases by these Vietnamese individuals are likely wealthy Chinese, as many hotels and restaurants there bear Chinese names.
"The area is not large, but after construction, it can accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. The whole area around Silver Shores and around Hoa Hai Ward in Ngu Hanh Son District is filled with Chinese nationals,” Dieu said.
Dieu refers to Silver Shores International Resort, a beachfront resort located on Truong Sa Street in Ngu Hanh Son.
He said his agency has reviewed the application for the establishment of many joint stock companies in the district, and found that many of them have the majority of shares owned by Chinese nationals.
The rights to make decisions in these businesses belong to Chinese, the Vietnamese shareholders are essentially working as employees and earn a small amount of profit according to the level of their contribution, Dieu added.