Lao Capital Residents Fight Land Grab, Reject Offered Compensation

Residents of the Lao capital Vientiane are resisting seizure of their land by a Lao-China joint venture building an expressway, saying they had been promised earlier their land would not be taken, and calling offers of compensation unacceptably low, Lao sources say.

The project, a 13-km roadway connecting That Luang Marsh to Dong Mak Khai village in a suburb of Vientiane, is scheduled for completion in February 2023 and is being built by the Vientiane Expressway No. 1 Sole Company Ltd., a joint venture between a Lao firm and China’s Norinco Company.

When finished, it will have taken 300 hectares of land from 21 villages in Vientiane’s Saysettha and Xaythany districts, sources say, with an estimated total of 350 billion kip (U.S. $39 million) paid in compensation to dispossessed landowners, sources say.

Amounts offered to individual property holders are far below market value, though, sources told RFA’s Lao Service in July.

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RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.