Viet Nam: Squatters damaging historic sites in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City — Valuable, historic buildings in HCM City are in danger of being damaged because of illegal trespass by local residents.

The 265-year-old Giac Lam Pagoda, for example, which is located at Lac Long Quan Street in Tan Binh District’s Ward 10, has fallen into disrepair, with residents encroaching on its land.

Four houses have been built on the pagoda’s yard, said Venerable Thich Tu Tri, vice rector of the pagoda.

Venerable Thich Tri Dinh, rector of Phung Son Pagoda, located in District 11’s Ward 2, said in the past homeless people had caused disorder and littered the front yard of the pagoda.

Efforts of pagoda authorities had encouraged local people to participate in the preservation of the relic, and the site was now clean.

According to figures of the district’s People’s Committee, a total of 132 households have trespassed the premises.

The gatherings of street vendors in front of the buildings have created disturbances in the neighbourhood, and affected the solemnity of the sites.

Dozens of peddlers have set up stalls at the gate of Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda, which is located in District 10’s Ward 12, scattering rubbish in front of the pagoda.

Ong Pagoda at Nguyen Trai Street in District 5 is always crowded with hundreds of people parking their motorbikes in its yard, waiting to pick up their children at the school nearby.

— Viet Nam News Agency