The Investigative Security Agency at the Ministry of Public Security has arrested fugitive businessman Phan Van Anh Vu after his whereabouts were the subject of much speculation following an arrest warrant being issued last month. 

Vu, 42, is one of Da Nang’s major real estate tycoons. He is Chairman of the Bac Nam 79 Construction JSC, the Nova Bac Nam 79 JSC, and The Sunrise Bay Da Nang project, as well as a shareholder in many other projects in the central city.

He is believed to possess numerous land plots in “prime locations” across the city, including two “floating restaurants” on the iconic Han River. The tycoon is also believed to have played a role in several land transfers and the sale of publicly-owned houses during the tenure of  late city Party Chief Nguyen Ba Thanh and former Chairman Tran Van Minh.

Vu was first linked to land management issues in Da Nang in 2013, when the Government Inspectorate launched an inspection that found his companies responsible for multiple violations. However, the city’s government at the time immediately issued a reply, dismissing the conclusions by the Government Inspectorate as being unfounded.

The wanted notice for Vu was signed on December 21, one day after the Investigative Security Agency initiated legal proceedings against the mogul on charges of “deliberately disclosing State secrets”. His house in Da Nang was searched on the same night.

A spokesperson for Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said Vu was arrested on December 28 “for committing offences under the Immigration Act”.

“Vu was deported from Singapore for breaking its immigration law. The Security Investigation Agency at the Ministry of Public Security received and arrested him and will investigate according to Vietnamese law,” the Ministry said in a website post.

Serious security offences, such as revealing State secrets, can carry the death penalty in Vietnam. Dozens of Vietnamese officials and business figures have been arrested in a crackdown on corruption that has gathered pace since the security establishment gained greater sway in the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam in 2016.