Opinion
Historical sites exploited by tasteless greed
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | June 29, 2016 01:48 PM

Anything can happen in Vietnam, including the most ridiculous of things, such as being given permission to build a construction on top of a tomb of a former king.

  

Illegal constructions violate King Tran Anh Tong's tomb

King Tran Anh Tong’s tomb on Yen Tu Mountain, Quang Ninh Province, is classified as special national heritage site but that hasn’t protected it from being violated. Van Huy Company blatantly brought machines and equipment to the mountain, filled up part of Trai Loc 1 Lake and already built a series of small houses there.

The public again were outraged. This is not the first time that historic sites have been violated or damaged. Some were renovated for the worse despite criticism from the public and regulations.

Local authorities and managers must take the primary blame for letting this become a common issue. They have either ignored the problem or were bribed because there's no way such huge construction could be carried out without help from the authorities.

In 2013, the Van Huy Company was allocated 1,000 square metres along Trai Loc 1 Lake for tree planting yet the land was used to build houses. The company said these were guard houses to monitor the project. Van Huy Company was then told to demolish the houses in 2014 but they continued to build more. On September 15, 2015, the authorities of Dong Trieu Town People's Committee fined the Van Huy Company VND45m (USD2,045) and instructed the company to demolish the houses immediately. But still nothing was done.

Tran Van Vinh, the town vice chairman, simply said Van Huy Company had asked to legalise the construction. The company is also seeking permission from the provincial authorities to build a service area for eco-tourism there.

It sounds ridiculous. First Tran Anh Company can be accused of grave trespassing as outlined in black and white in the Criminal Code. Those who dig or damage graves and tombs to steal or violate the bodies can face one year of non-custodial reform to two years imprisonment or five years in more serious cases.

They can also be charged for infringing historic and cultural relic sites and may be fined from VND2m to VND20m. Violators face three years of non-custodial reform or up to seven years of imprisonment if causing serious consequences.

This case can be prosecuted but it looks like the local authorities are considering legalising the illegal construction.

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