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Vietnam province officials tried for land fraud

A court in Vietnam's northern province of Vinh Phuc Monday began a trial of eight provincial officials accused of land-related corruption.

Nguyen Van Hoa, 65, a former vice chairman of the province People's Committee, has been charged with "lack of responsibility causing serious consequences."

The seven others face charges of "abuse of power."

According to prosecutors, between September 2006 and August 2010 the officials abused their power to appropriate some state-owned farm land with the intention of handing it over to Nguyen Anh Quan and Duong Dinh Tam to set up a farm.

They then forged documents and submitted them to the People's Committee for approval.

They caused a loss of around VND30 billion (US$1.4 million) to the government, the prosecutors said.

Tam is being tried -- for the same charge as the seven officials -- while Quan is still at large. He fled first to germany and then to the US, but his current whereabouts are not known.

An arrest warrant is out for him.