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The sky’s the limit for business class   2010-08-09 - Viet Nam News

Another millionaire has ordered a private aircraft for his personal use though, intriguingly, his identity is no known.

Mr Doan Nguyen Duc.
Mr Doan Nguyen Duc.
Online newspaper VnExpress said it is a seven-seat aircraft with a bathroom, dining room, and bedroom specially designed for the owner.

Though the owner asked not to be named and declined to reveal its cost, he said the aircraft, which can do long-haul flights to Europe, will be delivered by 2012 at the latest.

News of the purchase came a couple of days after the chairman of Hoa Phat Group, Tran Dinh Long, received his US$4.9 million aircraft in late July.

Long told the media he will use the six-seat Eurocopter EC-135P2i on domestic trips, especially to the Ha Noi-headquartered group's mines, since it can take off and land virtually anywhere.

Long became the second Vietnamese businessman to own a private aircraft after the chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, Doan Nguyen Duc, got a $7 million, 12-seat Beechcraft King Air B350 in May 2008.

Duc also obtained a pilot's licence to operate short-haul flights of around 2,500 kilometres.

A year buying it, Duc said the aircraft helps save a lot of time and increase his productivity.

Duc did not have to pay a luxury tax but in April 2009 the Government unveiled a tax of 30 per cent on aircraft.

The law does not prohibit individuals from owning private aircraft provided they meet safety requirements.

It is conceivable that the number of businesspeople buying private aircraft will increase in the coming years.

Owning aircraft is a trend that is seen in many other countries. In China there are nearly 200 private planes, according to the Guangzhou Daily.

Client pays for bank error

An Agribank customer in Da Nang is indignant after the bank mistakenly credited a large sum in his account and asked the police to pressure him to return it.

Pham Su, a retiree living in Quang Nam Province's Dien Ban District, found nearly VND1.3 billion ($68,400) in his ATM account when he went to withdraw money on July 28, and took out VND500 million.

Later he took some more money for family expenses.

Even as he was checking the source of the extra amount by asking his relatives in France and older brother in Hue, the police came.

Su was interrogated by the Da Nang City police and accused of misappropriating Agribank's assets.

They told his 85-year-old mother he could be arrested.

After two trips to police stations in Dien Ban District and Da Nang, he was informed by Agribank Da Nang that it had made a mistake and transferred VND1.27 billion into his ATM account instead of his retirement benefits of VND105 million.

He has returned the money to the bank but remains an angry man.

"Of course I have to return all the money because it is not mine.

"The bank asked the police to put pressure on my family. Though it is their mistake, they have not apologised for what they have done."


Farmers decry golf courses

Farmers in Lam Dong Province continue to complain about golf courses that will drive them out of the paddies and tea and coffee farms they have been planting for centuries, reports Tin Tuc (News) newspaper.

Nguyen Van Trung, chairman of the Hiep Phat Tea Cultivation Co-op, in Bao Loc Town, said the authorities told them last month about a golf course which will destroy 30 ha of tea plantations cultivated by 40 co-operative members.

Province authorities said Jinsung Vina Ltd has been licensed to develop the Bao Loc Golf Course and Resort project which will have a 54-hole golf course, 200 luxury villas, a 300-room hotel, and other facilities.

The first stage will require 250ha in Bao Loc's Loc Phat Ward and Loc Thang Town. An expansion later will see the area double.

"If the land is taken [for the golf course], residents will find it difficult to survive because they know nothing else but to grow tea and coffee," Trung said.

In Loc Phat Ward, Do Minh Duc, deputy chairman of the People's Committee said the golf course will appropriate 180ha of tea and coffee plantations from 450 households.

"... [Attracting] foreign direct investment is necessary, but not at any cost," he added.

Golf course developers are also appropriating rice fields in Lam Dong.

The K'Ren Golf Course requires over 120ha of arable land, including 82ha of paddy fields, in Duc Trong District.

K'Do, a local resident, said all 220 families in this ethnic minority village will become jobless when this 120ha valley is taken over for the golf course and resort.

They cannot earn a living because they cannot find any arable land to work if their lands are acquired by the Korea-Viet Ltd.

The Royal City Golf Course has taken over and filled the Da Ron Reservoir which used to irrigate 300ha each of paddy and other crops in Don Duong District. The reservoir now also serves as a landscape for the golf course.

According to a national master plan for developing golf courses approved in November 2009, Lam Dong has withdrawn five of the 11 licences it issued for golf courses.

But even then only Ha Noi, with 29, has licensed more golf courses. Besides this, the average area of a course in Lam Dong is 650ha compared to the national average of 300ha.

The developer of a course said after recouping the investment of $18.3 million in 13 years, the Bao Loc golf course will fetch annual profits of $4.5 million.

But according to provincial authorities, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, the only golf course in the province now, regularly loses money despite its prime location in the centre of Da Lat.

Lam Dong farmers are hoping the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will turn its scanner on their province after completing its inspection of golf courses licensed in Ha Noi.

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