The Billion-Dollar Hotel Project: A Demand for Justice as Construction is Halted.

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On May 25, 2019, the People’s Committee of Ha Tinh province approved in principle the investment project for the construction of the Hanvet Hotel in Xuan Thanh beach tourist area (Xuan Thanh commune, Nghi Xuan district) with a scale of 9 floors, a swimming pool, a children’s playground, and other auxiliary works.

The project is invested by Hanvet Joint Stock Company of Medicine and Veterinary Supplies (88 Truong Chinh street, Phuong Mai ward, Dong Da district, Hanoi) with a total investment of VND 50 billion.

Hanvet Hotel was built on land retrieved from a household, contrary to regulations. Photo: Thien Luong

Nghi Xuan District People’s Committee retrieved the land, including lot 532, map sheet No. 2, map 299, with an area of 1,456m2 in village 4 (now Thanh Long village, Xuan Thanh commune), which originally belonged to Mr. Trinh Huan and Mrs. Phan Thi Duon) to implement the policy of building Xuan Thanh resort. After retrieving the land, the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district leased it to individuals and organizations for construction and business purposes.

In 2020, the Ha Tinh Provincial People’s Committee granted a land use right certificate for this land area to Hanvet Joint Stock Company of Medicine and Veterinary Supplies for management, operation, and hotel business.

On April 19, 2022, the Hanvet Hotel project was started. However, when the project was in the final stages of completion and about to be put into operation, the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district and the investor unexpectedly received a lawsuit demanding the return of the land from Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha.

Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha claimed that the land lot where the Hanvet Hotel was built belonged to his parents (Mr. Trinh Huan and Mrs. Phan Thi Duon), who left it to their children after they passed away. His siblings then agreed to let Mr. Ha use it. In 1992, the house was damaged due to storms, so Mr. Ha went to live with his uncle, Mr. Trinh Hieng. In 1993, the authorities sent people and machinery to dismantle his house to implement the project.

“I went to the People’s Committee of Xuan Thanh commune to ask about it, and they replied that they had retrieved the land and would settle my rights. But I waited forever without any result. In 1993, the authorities dismantled my house, so by 1995, when the land was allocated for the project, my house was no longer there. My land was taken away, but I received no compensation, so I am demanding its return,” said Mr. Ha.

The People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district also admitted that the land lot where the Hanvet Hotel is being built originally belonged to Mr. Ha’s parents, who had been using it since before 1980, and their names were on map 299. However, map 299 is not a document determining land use rights. From 1992 to 1997, this land lot was not in use.

Subsequently, in implementation of the resolution of the 16th Nghi Xuan District People’s Council, in 1995, the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district sent a dispatch to request the People’s Committee of Ha Tinh province to approve the project of Xuan Thanh beach. The provincial People’s Committee agreed and allowed the district People’s Committee to temporarily allocate land use rights, ensuring compliance with principles.

The People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district retrieved the land, including more than 1,456m2 originally belonging to Mr. Ha’s parents, to implement this policy. The land lot that Mr. Ha sued for is currently licensed to Hanvet Joint Stock Company of Medicine and Veterinary Supplies for the construction of the Hanvet Hotel.

The 9-storey hotel project with a total investment of VND 50 billion is nearing completion. Photo: Thien Luong

“At the time of retrieval, there were no assets of Mr. Ha on the land, and his family was also not managing or using it, so the land was under the management of the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district. Therefore, the district People’s Committee did not issue land retrieval procedures. Mr. Ha’s family does not fall into the category of cases eligible for consideration of compensation,” said a representative of the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district.

The district is struggling to resolve the problem

After many unsuccessful attempts to reclaim the land, Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha filed a lawsuit with the Hanoi High People’s Court. The Hanoi High People’s Court held that the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district had taken Mr. Ha’s land and handed it over to other organizations and individuals without issuing documents and implementing land retrieval procedures, and without considering the origin of the land to carry out compensation and resettlement support, which was not in compliance with the law and did not guarantee the rights and interests of Mr. Ha’s family.

“Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha’s lawsuit, requesting the cancellation of the entire content of Official Dispatch No. 1297 dated 2018 of the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district and demanding that the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district return the land to his family or provide another land lot of equivalent value or compensate with an amount equivalent to the value of the land use, has grounds,” said the Hanoi High People’s Court.

In August 2023, the Hanoi High People’s Court issued a decision forcing the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district to perform its duties and ensure the legitimate rights and interests of Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha in accordance with the law.

However, up to now, Mr. Ha’s family has not had their land returned or received compensation for its value as decided by the Hanoi High People’s Court.

Talking to PV. VietNamNet, the leader of Xuan Thanh commune People’s Committee said that the construction of Hanvet Hotel is still ongoing.

“The investor has been allocated land by the province, so they have the right to build. The investor is not at fault; if there is any fault, it lies with the province and the district. The Hanoi High People’s Court requested the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district to consider returning the corresponding land to Mr. Ha, after which the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district sent a response, but the court has not yet replied,” said the leader of Xuan Thanh commune People’s Committee.

According to the leader of the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district, the content of point 1.2 of the judgment issued by the Hanoi High People’s Court, which ordered the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district to perform its duties and ensure the legitimate rights and interests of Mr. Trinh Xuan Ha, is unclear and causes difficulties in enforcement.

“The High Court did not specify how Mr. Ha’s rights should be resolved, so how can the district resolve it? We have sent a document requesting guidance from the Hanoi High People’s Court,” said the leader of the People’s Committee of Nghi Xuan district.

Thien Luong

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