Copyright violations rife

Participants at a workshop on film and TV copyright protection said on Thursday that they were surprised at the extent of infringements happening in the domestic market. De Mai Tinh 2 (Fool For Love 2), was illegally uploaded on the internet the same day it was first screened on K+. For example, the release of Bui Doi Cho Lon (Life in Lon Market) had been prohibited, but its "draft" had been uploaded on to the Internet and the culprit has not yet been officially announced, they said. Another film, Chang Trai Nam Ay (The Man in the Past) was being distributed on the Internet, even as it was being screened in cinemas. A particularly striking violation was that of De Mai Tinh 2 (Fool For Love 2), the first Vietnamese film screened in the cinemas to be shown exclusively on K+ channel. On the very first day that it was shown on TV, the film was available on online film websites with the HD version and even K+'s logo. "We discovered (the violation) and contacted the two big … [Read more...]

Insurance company’s branch official killed after car crashes into river

The river section in Soc Trang Province where Tran Viet Hai's car plunged into on June 4. Photo: Tran Thanh Phong The director of a PJICO Insurance Corporation’s branch died after his car plunged into a river in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on Thursday. The seven-seater driven by Tran Viet Hai, 47, director of PJICO's Soc Trang branch, crashed into the river at a dangerous bend on the road from Soc Trang Town to Long Phu District at around 2 p.m., Tran Thi Ba, a witness, said. Ba and dozens of locals rushed for help the victim, but to no avail. They could neither open the doors nor pull the car out of the deep water. It took rescuers an hour to arrive at the scene to recover the vehicle from the river and take Hai to a local hospital where doctors said he had died. Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh quoted an unnamed friend of Hai as saying that he was suffering from sleep loss and often drove around to relax. Meanwhile, Tuoi Tre reported that Hai suffered … [Read more...]

Amateur models arrested for selling sex

Vietnamese police have apprehended five people after swooping on a ring of amateur models and actresses who prostituted themselves for up to US$1,000 per sex session. Police in Ho Chi Minh City on April 15 said they are detaining Le Bao Loc, a local 42-year-old man, who led the ring they broke up on April 7. Police officers have also arrested four amateur models and actresses, including Nguyen Thi Hai Yen (often called Chau Hai Yen), 25, Le Thi Bao Tran, 26, Nguyen Thi Dieu Hien, 23, and Dang Thi Anh Dao, 24, for investigation. On that night, police officers raided a hotel in District 1 and two hotels in Binh Chanh District following a tip-off and caught several amateur models having sex with their clients. Based on the testimonies of these models, police arrested Loc the same day on charges of prostitution brokerage. Loc admitted to police officers that he acted as an intermediary for models and actresses to prostitute themselves for US$500-1,000 per sex session. These sex … [Read more...]

Amateur models arrested for selling sex for up to $1,000 in Vietnam

Vietnamese police have apprehended five people after swooping on a ring of amateur models and actresses who prostituted themselves for up to US$1,000 per sex session. >> Judge accused of buying sex in hidden cameras-equipped hotel legal debate erupts Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday said they are detaining Le Bao Loc, a local 42-year-old man, who led the ring they broke up on April 7. Police officers have also arrested four amateur models and actresses, including Nguyen Thi Hai Yen (often called Chau Hai Yen), 25, Le Thi Bao Tran, 26, Nguyen Thi Dieu Hien, 23, and Dang Thi Anh Dao, 24, for investigation. On that night, police officers raided a hotel in District 1 and two hotels in Binh Chanh District following a tip-off and caught several amateur models having sex with their clients. Based on the testimonies of these models, police arrested Loc the same day on charges of prostitution brokerage. Loc admitted to police officers that he acted as an intermediary … [Read more...]

Social News 8/4

Road accident kills three in Gia Lai At least three persons were killed and one was seriously injured, when three motorbikes collided on Road 661 in Gia Lai (Tay Nguyen) Central Highland Province on Sunday. After receiving information about the accident in La Lok hamlet in Chu Pah district, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, sent condolences to the families of the victims and requested the provincial traffic safety department to provide the best medical aid possible to the injured person and support the victims' families. The local traffic police said the cause of the accident was being investigated. The transport department has guided local authorities to review the safety conditions of the transport system in the province, particularly emphasising on segments, intersections and connections between rural roads, district roads and highways. The department has also focused on repairing damaged roads, and … [Read more...]

Provider of sex workers for foreigners arrested

Police have detained a man who worked as a pimp in a Ho Chi Minh City area dubbed the "Westerner's zone" or "backpacker area," Vietnamese media reported. Police officers District 1 arrested Nguyen Ba Huy, 43, after they raided the Hoa Long Hotel at 160 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, and caught two sex workers serving their foreign guests in two rooms on April 5. The ward is often known as the "backpacker area" because as it is home to a community of foreigners who visit the city as tourists. The two prostitutes told police that Huy had sent them to the hotel. Police officers went on to capture Huy and escorted him to their station for questioning. Huy told investigators that he had made a living as a motorbike taxi driver in the "backpacker area" before becoming a procurer. The pimp said he had set up a call-girl ring to provide prostitutes for foreigners only and printed "special business cards" that only showed his name "Huy," his cellphone number, and the … [Read more...]

Bad news for expats: Provider of sex workers in Saigon ‘backpacker area’ arrested

Police have detained a man who worked as a pimp in a Ho Chi Minh City area dubbed the "Westerner's zone" or "backpacker area," Vietnamese media reported. Police officers District 1 arrested Nguyen Ba Huy, 43, after they raided the Hoa Long Hotel at 160 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, and caught two sex workers serving their foreign guests in two rooms on Sunday. The ward is often known as the "backpacker area" because as it is home to a community of foreigners who visit the city as tourists. The two prostitutes told police that Huy had sent them to the hotel. Police officers went on to capture Huy and escorted him to their station for questioning. A sex worker in the call-girl ring led by Nguyen Ba Huy. Photo: VnExpress Huy told investigators that he had made a living as a motorbike taxi driver in the "backpacker area" before becoming a procurer. The pimp said he had set up a call-girl ring to provide prostitutes for foreigners only and printed "special business … [Read more...]

Social News 28/2

Route connecting Ky Sa Port and Ly Son Island opened The Ministry of Transport announced its plan to open a mixed river-sea route connecting the Ky Sa port and Ly Son Island in central Quang Ngai province on February 26. Vessels operating on the route must be river-sea compatible ships (VR-SB) under the National Technical Regulation on the Rule of Inland-Waterway Ships Classification and Construction. In addition, vessel crew members are required to have professional competence qualifications. Ly Son district lies 18 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast and covers an area of 10km2. It includes three communes: An Hai, An Vinh and An Binh. The island district has a population of approximately 2,100. The majority of residents earn a living from fishing and farming garlics and spring onions. Ly Son is striving to become a maritime economic centre by 2025, with a focus on tourism and aquaculture. Archaeologists found relics of Sa Huynh culture on the island dating back to 3,000 … [Read more...]

Transport minister fires entire project management unit for tardy progress

The Vietnamese Transport Minister has decided to replace the entire management project unit that is in charge of road upgrade projects in south-central Vietnam after finding it should be held responsible for the projects’ tardy progress. Minister Dinh La Thang made the decision at a meeting of his ministry in Hanoi on Tuesday. Accordingly, the entire project management unit (PMU2) that is in charge of projects to upgrade and expand the National Highway 1 sections that run through Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces in south central Vietnam will be replaced with the PMU for the Ho Chi Minh Road project. The replacement came after Minister Thang took a trip to oversee the project, which will enlarge the national highway through Binh Dinh, on February 21. At the above meeting, Thang said the PMU2 failed to maintain control over the projects under its authority, while the projects’ contractors showed poor performance and the investors exposed weak capabilities. The … [Read more...]

Condition of corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh has improved: experts

The overall health condition of Nguyen Ba Thanh, head of Vietnam's Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, who recently returned home after treatment in the U.S. for myelodysplastic syndrome, has improved after three weeks of care in the central city of Da Nang. >> Vietnam to treat corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh with modern and traditional medicines Medical experts who are treating Thanh issued the information on Thursday, adding that the official can walk, talk and eat porridge. Thanh was hospitalized at Da Nang Hospital on January 9, when he returned to Vietnam after over four months of treatment in the U.S., where he underwent chemotherapy for his illness. Myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or bone marrow, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The team of health experts who are treating Thanh … [Read more...]

Vietnam restaurant says it committed ‘mistake’ in charging Japanese guest

A restaurant in the well-known tourist city of Vung Tau on Vietnam's south central coast has said it committed a mistake while charging a Japanese guest through his Visa card last week. >> Overcharging still rife at Vietnam's tourism spots over long holidays Nguyen Như Khanh, the owner of Hau Long Son restaurant, admitted the mistake to an inspection team who worked with him on Tuesday on "overcharging" a Japanese guest named Kado, who had reported the case to competent agencies, Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper reported on its website on Wednesday. Accordingly, at 10:30 pm on January 19, Kado and his girlfriend ate a few dishes at the restaurant, located on 94 Hoang Hoa Tham Street in Vung Tau, and was billed VND2.2 million (US$103), the newspaper said. Since he did not have enough cash for the bill, he suggested paying with his Visa card. Khanh and Kado then went to the restaurant's point-of-sale (POS) machine and made a payment. After … [Read more...]

Vietnamese masseuse held for stealing 2 iPhones from Australian expert

Vietnamese police have identified the masseuse who stole two cell phones from an Australian expert while serving him at a local hotel a fortnight ago, local media reported. >> Cabbie in Vietnam metropolis returns $11,600 Vertu phone to passenger After days of investigation, police in the central province of Nghe An said on Sunday that they had detained Nguyen Thi Ha, 22, a local woman, on suspicion of stealing property. Ha is a drug addict and has a previous conviction of appropriating property through swindling, police said. The investigation was launched after Mark Beaumont Dutch, 52, an Australian national who is head of the technical department at the Nghi Son Oil Refinery Plant in the central province of Thanh Hoa, reported he lost an iPhone 5 and 5s and a Zippo lighter at the Thai Binh Duong Hotel in Nghe An’s Cua Lo town. On January evening, after a working trip to Nghe An’s Vinh City, Dutch stayed at the hotel and asked it for a massage service in … [Read more...]

Da Nang to raze luxury villa built illegally on state land

The villa illegally built by Major-general Phan Nhu Thach, former police chief of Quang Nam Province. Photo credit: Phap Luat Da Nang said it will demolish a luxury villa that a retired police officer unlawfully built on its forest land. Major-general Phan Nhu Thach, former police chief of the nearby Quang Nam Province, came to the Nam Hai Van Forest, cut down trees and built the house without any permit. Local inspectors checked the construction at least once in 2013, but Thach was still allowed to forge ahead with it, Phap Luat Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper reported. He retired last September. The imposing villa, covering an area of 17,750 square meters, is located near a stream on the edge of the Nam Hai Van Forest. Phap Luat said other people who built houses illegally there were ordered to stop their work immediately. Thach was an exception. The newspaper also revealed that his family bought a few pieces of agricultural land in the forest, which … [Read more...]

Da Nang to raze luxury villa senior cop built illegally on state land

The villa illegally built by Major-general Phan Nhu Thach, former police chief of Quang Nam Province. Photo credit: Phap Luat Da Nang said it will demolish a luxury villa that a retired police officer unlawfully built on its forest land. Major-general Phan Nhu Thach, former police chief of the nearby Quang Nam Province, came to the Nam Hai Van Forest, cut down trees and built the house without any permit. Local inspectors checked the construction at least once in 2013, but Thach was still allowed to forge ahead with it, Phap Luat Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper reported. He retired last September. The imposing villa, covering an area of 17,750 square meters, is located near a stream on the edge of the Nam Hai Van Forest. Phap Luat said other people who built houses illegally there were ordered to stop their work immediately. Thach was an exception. The newspaper also revealed that his family bought a few pieces of agricultural land in the forest, which … [Read more...]

Security warnings calm tourists rather than scare: HCMC cop

A youth volunteer gives directions outside the Nortre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu Ho Chi Minh City police have had to stop passing out leaflets warning foreign visitors of robberies, rip-offs and taxi scams due to complaints from tour companies. Some people, including sources from the media, hailed the warnings as proactive; others said they painted Vietnam as a dangerous country. The leaflet, "A few travel reminders for a hassle-free trip," was created (in both English and Vietnamese) through an initiative of the Ho Chi Minh City Police amid rising street crime. They have only been distributed on a trial basis in Pham Ngu Lao Ward -- the area frequently referred to as the "backpacker area" in the city's District 1. Lt. Col Nguyen Van Phuoc, the ward police chief, said the leaflets are designed simply to keep tourists alert. "If we don't want [to distribute the flyers] and leave tourists to be robbed and ripped off, the blame is on us," Phuoc said. Last … [Read more...]

Two Vietnam policemen suspended for shooting fleeing suspect

Ninh Thuan police have suspended two crime-branch police officers for shooting at a suspected motorbike thief while patrolling the south central province on June 17. Colonel Huynh Cam, chief of the Thuan Nam District Police, told Thanh Nien News that he had asked the two involved officers to file reports on the shooting. He declined to name them. Doctors at the Ninh Thuan General Hospital said Wednesday that the suspected robber To Trung, 25, is no longer in critical condition following the successful removal of a copper bullet from his body. The bullet entered Trung's body through the left side of his abdomen, piecing through his pancreas, stomach and intestines. According to one of Trung's family members, who asked to remain anonymous, the incident took place at around 7 p.m. on June 17 while Trung and two friends were driving their motorbikes from Ninh Phuoc to Thuan Nam District. Because Trung's headlight was broken, he was driving slowly behind his friend. Upon reaching … [Read more...]

Vietnamese cops apologize for wrongful arrest 24 years back

Two men from the southern province of Hau Giang received a public apology from the police for their wrongful arrest 24 years ago, on Wednesday. Officers from the Phung Hiep District Police came to the neighborhoods of Pham Nhut Hung and Le Quoc Si and offered them each a public apology, news website VnExpress reported. Hung, then-deputy director of a local state irrigation and construction firm, ordered his pumping team leader Si to carry out irrigation work in nearby An Giang Province but failed to collect enough payments (VND27 million or nearly US$2,500 then). Le Quoc Si (L) and Pham Nhat Hung, had their names cleared in 2013 after being wrongfully-arrested for embezzlement in 1990. Photo credit: Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh Both were arrested in 1990 and charged with the illegal use of public assets. Hung was accused of embezzlement and Si was charged with acting as his accomplice. They were released after around three months but the case wasn't dropped until late … [Read more...]

Vietnam province under fire for waste on intn’l music festival

Organizers of the traditional don ca tai tu music festival present awards to winners of a photo contest in front of the 61-feet model of a traditional instrument "Cong tu Bac Lieu" was a term applied to the children of rich landlords who enjoyed lavish lifestyles in southern Vietnam during the colonial period. It is said that one even showed off his wealth by boiling eggs over a fire built out of bank notes. The term has been recently resurrected in newspaper editorials condemning wasteful spending on last month's festival dedicated to traditional don ca tai tu music genre (April 24-29). According to incomplete reports from the project management units and festival organizers, officials spent VND2 trillion (US$94.86 million) on over 20 construction projects for the event, in addition to its organizing fees, Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh Citty Law) newspaper reported on May 6. The next day, Bac Lieu authorities held a press conference, saying that not all the … [Read more...]

Lunch Beat shakes up Ho Chi Minh City ‘work-day heroes’

Hundreds of Vietnamese workers gathered at the office of IKEA Trading Ltd. in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday (May 6) for Lunch Beat. Participants ate sandwiches and danced away the lunch hour during the event organized by the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam. Lunch Beat began in Sweden in 2010 as a way for strangers to eat together and have fun together during their one-hour break. The first gathering was held in an underground garage in Stockholm. During the autumn of 2010, the movement continued to grow and spread to new locations. More regular events were arranged during the spring of 2011 and the first-ever Lunch Beat held outside Stockholm took place in Malmö. This year, movement that began in a Swedish garage has become a global lunchtime clubbing phenomenon with events in over 90 cities all over the world. During the May 6 event, "Work-Day Heroes" all around the world were invited to eat and dance together in the middle of the day. Lunch … [Read more...]

Vietnam health minister refuses to resign under mounting pressure

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien on Tuesday said she did not think of resigning as the health sector is focusing all efforts on combating measles, treating patients, and minimizing deaths. >> Vietnam minister visits HCMC hospitals, urge measles patient isolation to curb spread >> Vietnam to give free measles vaccination to children aged 2-10 >> Vietnam ministry warns of spread of measles during coming holiday>> Measles plagues Vietnam's southern hub, no deaths reported Minister Tien made the assertion at yesterday's press conference in Hanoi when replying to reporters' questions about her responsibility in coping with the disease that has killed over 130 children nationwide since late last year. "As a mother, have you extended your apology to the parents whose children have died of measles, and have you thought of resigning?" a reporter from Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper asked Minister Tien. The minister replied, "As a mother, I would like to send my deep … [Read more...]