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Runaway Developers in Vietnam

Half-finished or abandoned homes stand in a western district in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Runaway Developer

As Vietnam’s first property boom crashed around him, American developer Edward Chi kept promising investors their flashy apartments were on track. The businessman even told them he would sell his California properties to pay them back if construction stopped on projects that were heavily marketed by a well-known American real estate company.

But Chi ducked out of a tense meeting with the prospective home owners last year and never returned, leaving the rusting foundations of an apartment block and at least 128 angry investors, many who had already put down more than $150,000 from life savings or bank loans. Police say Chi has left the country and is unreachable

Reporting by Chris Brummitt, the Associated Press.