Mayor urges villagers to release captives
HANOI, Vietnam — The mayor of Vietnam’s capital on Thursday urged villagers engaged in a land dispute with authorities to release the remaining 20 police and officials they’ve been holding since the weekend. The state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Nguyen Duc Chung as telling local officials to persuade the residents to remove barricades erected around Dong Tam village in My Duc District on the outskirts of Hanoi. The standoff began Saturday when police clashed with villagers who say their farmland was taken illegally for sale by a military-run telecoms firm. Nine villagers were arrested for disturbing public order but were later released. The villagers held 38 officials and police at a community house, but later released 15 riot police while three others managed to escape. “I will ask the villagers to soon release those who are being held,” Chung said, trying to assure the village that authorities won’t use force to end the standoff. He said the remaining officials and police were treated well. Chung said that he wanted to meet village representatives as soon as Friday.