Thursday, September 20, 2007

Continuing viloence at Vietnam's 1st oil refinery project

More mayhem at Vietnam’s oil refinery project

Some 30 workers at Vietnams’ major oil refinery project assaulted security guards and vandalized their office on Monday after being caught stealing.

Thien Long Security employees, hired to patrol the Dung Quat Industrial Zone oil refinery in Quang Ngai province, said they caught a group of workers from the Bach Dang construction company stealing iron and stopped them from doing so.

But as private employees, the guards could only put a halt to the illegal activity and had no authority to detain the crooks.

Police were not called.

Around 15 minutes later, the group of would-be thieves returned and pelted the guards with rocks, according to the security employees.

Later that night, a group of 30 Bach Dang workers allegedly stormed the security office and attacked the guards with knives, shovels and sticks.

The enraged hoodlums injured three guards and destroyed desks, telephones and security company cars.

When police finally arrived on the scene, all the workers had fled. The police seized a knife, two shovels, four iron bars, and several sticks believed to have been used by the suspects as weapons at the scene.

The Thien Long firm told Thanh Nien that the workers may have held previous grudges against the guards for preventing earlier robberies.

Thien Long echoed the common sentiment that the looting of construction materials had become all too rife at the site recently.

The police said they were working to track down the riotous workers.

For months, there have been reports of violent looting and robberies at the Dung Quat project.

Such theft and hooliganism is a source of major concern for authorities as much of Vietnam’s development strategy hinges on the success of the refinery.

One of Southeast Asia’s largest petroleum producers, Vietnam still imports all its oil products due to lack of such a refinery.

Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stepped in and ordered authorities to beef up security at the site. But little progress has been made.