VnExpress, Nguyen Hung, Associated Press
In this photo taken Feb. 4, 2012, Nguyen Thi Thuong stands by the ruins of her house in Tien Lang District, northern city of Haiphong, Vietnam. On Jan. 5, Thuong returned home from dropping her kids off at school to find a mob of armed police in riot gear surrounding her farm house. Thuong knew authorities were there to forcibly throw the family off the land they had leased for fish farming but her husband, Doan Van Vuon, wasn't leaving without a fight. In a guerrilla-style ambush reminiscent of a Vietnam War battle, family members laid homemade land mines around the house and fired on the advancing forces with improvised shotguns, wounding six police officers and soldiers.

HANOI, Vietnam — When local police arrived in riot gear to evict the Vuon clan, family members were ready with homemade land mines and improvised shotguns. In a guerrilla-style ambush reminiscent of a Vietnam War battle, they wounded six officers.

But instead of drawing public condemnation, last month's rare violence by fish farmers trying to hold onto leased land in the northern port city of Hai Phong has made a national hero of family ringleader Doan Van Vuon and ripped open a debate about heavy-handed seizures by local governments.

Though Vuon and three of his kin remain under arrest for the attack, retired military generals and a former president have weighed in on his behalf. The prime minister has opened in inquiry into whether the local government overstepped its bounds.