Hundreds of human remains desecrated by Hanoi construction workers

A construction project in Hanoi has become caught up in controversy after police accused its workers of secretly removing hundreds of coffins from the site.

Police in neighboring Thai Binh Province said they had caught people carrying clay pots containing human bones to bury them secretly in the province on three occasions in recent weeks.

An investigation found the bones had been unearthed at the site of the Imperia Sky Garden apartment and office building in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

Nguyen Van Trinh, chief of police in Thai Thuy District, Thai Binh, said district authorities have ordered the drivers to return the remains to the construction site.

Trinh said the incident is unprecedented and that police are consulting Thai Binh’s justice department for a solution.

“We will impose cash fines on the people who moved the remains illegally," he said, as cited by Tuoi Tre. "Spiritually, this act must be heavily denounced.”

Local residents said the location was the burial site of people killed in the famine of 1945, and that their families are unknown.

In Vietnam, people need to ask for permission from authorities to move unmarked coffins. Violations can be punished by up to five years in jail.

Police are investigating the project developers, Minh Khai Textile JSC in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City-based real estate developer MIK Land.

Tran Nam Son, vice chairman of Vinh Tuy Ward in Hai Ba Trung District, said it’s not clear how many remains are left at the site.

Son said that construction has been suspended since September and the developers have been asked to survey the area and properly remove any remains before starting construction.

Tran Viet Dung, chief inspector of Hanoi’s Construction Department, said his unit will look into the case.

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