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...]

In Vietnam, proposed on-the-street traffic fines spark corruption fears

The Ministry of Public Security wants traffic police to collect fines on the street but experts say it will worsen corruption Police issue a ticket to a driver in downtown Hanoi. The Ministry of Public Security wants traffic police to collect fines on the spot instead of having them paid later to the Treasury as per current regulations. Photo by Ngoc Thang Nguyen Van Luc took a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Thap Province and stayed there for two days last December to complete all procedures necessary to get his driver's license back from local traffic police. The driver had been caught speeding in the Mekong Delta province and traffic police told him to return a week later to pay a fine of VND700,000 (US$34) to the Treasury, show them the invoice and take back his driver's license. "I spent a total of VND2 million, apart from the fines, for the trip just to pay the fine," he said. "Moreover, I had to stop working those two days." In a move aiming to curb … [Read more...]

Vietnam looks to end gridlock with public bicycles

But better public transit also needed to solve congestion problems, experts say Foreign tourists riding bicycles through Hoi An Town in the central province of Quang Nam. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed big cities to provide public bicycle services in city centers as a step towards limiting personal vehicles and avoid severe traffic jams. Photo by Diep Duc Minh Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed major cities to supply public bicycle services and reduce the number of personal vehicles clogging commercial centers after a number of proposals have been deemed infeasible. According to an instruction issued on January 27, Dung ordered authorities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho to facilitate transport infrastructure projects and strictly monitor the growth of personal vehicles. The cities must now draft plans to limit the use of personal vehicles and encourage residents to use public transport systems. All plans must be implemented by … [Read more...]

Press Digest (December 2 to 5)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from December 2 to 5 DECEMBER 2 TUOI TRE - Many Vietnamese firms receive complaints about fake products made in and smuggled from China which look like the real deal but are of low quality. Experts call for more effective monitoring of borders and better coordination among agencies to prevent this.  - The 2nd biennial International Piano Festival began Monday and will go on until Saturday at the HCMC Conservatory of Music, featuring American, French, Russian, Singaporean, and Vietnamese artists. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - Police in HCMC's District 8 are looking for Vu Thi Bich Van, 34, as they investigate the death of a 13-month-old boy. After she babysat the child for four days, he had severe brain trauma and died last Sunday following two and a half weeks of treatment.  DECEMBER 3 TUOI TRE - Power monopoly Electricity of Vietnam reported revenues of nearly VND157 trillion (over US$7.4 billion) in the … [Read more...]

Press Digest (November 25 to 28)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from November 25 to 28 NOVEMBER 25 TUOI TRE - Students from Nguyen Binh Khiem Elementary School in Ho Chi Minh City won in the elementary category of an annual children's robotics contest held in the Philippines last Saturday. NGUOI LAO DONG  - The Ministry of Transport has sought approval for a plan to limit personal vehicles on certain streets and during certain hours in major cities like Hanoi and HCMC from next year in a bid to reduce congestion. NOVEMBER 26 TUOI TRE - Former Miss Sport Tran Thi Quynh Monday apologized to the government and people for wearing a sash with the country's name spelled as "Vietnem" in the final of the 2013 Mrs. World pageant in China last Saturday. Event chairman David Marmel and chief organizer of this year's competition, Kaman Cheng, had apologized a day earlier.  - The historic town of Hoi An and Da Nang in central Vietnam Tuesday received the 2013 Asian Townscape Award from … [Read more...]

Press Digest (November 18-21)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from November 18-21 NOVEMBER 18 TUOI TRE - The installation of the Southeast Asia's longest undersea power cable started in the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang Sunday. The 55.8-km 110kV cable, which will run from Ha Tien town to Phu Quoc Island, is set to become operational in late January and provide cheaper and more stable electricity to the island. It is Vietnam's first undersea power cable. TIEN PHONG - The Ministry of Education and Training Sunday honored 160 of more than one million teachers nationwide for their efforts and achievements on the occasion of Vietnamese Teachers' Day on November 20. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested Ho Ngoc Nho, 18, for allegedly torturing and killing her neighbors' only child. She had been babysitting the child for four months and allegedly killed the 18-month-old boy on Saturday when she couldn't stop him from crying. - More than 1,000 … [Read more...]

More robberies threaten safety in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City

A police official has been suspended for alleged connections with a criminal gang in HCMC; Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc calls for closer supervision of local police to prevent similar cases. Ho Chi Minh City traffic and mobile police forces during a campaign to tackle crime in the city's downtown area. Photo by Dam Huy Vu Truong Chinh was waiting at a red light on Ho Chi Minh City's Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street when two robbers on a motorbike snatched VND50 million (US$2,370) from his pocket. He chased after them and managed to take the money from the robber's hand, but it dropped on the ground. Many people stopped to pick the money while Chinh continued to chase after the two robbers. Khanh Le, a passer-by who helped Chinh in an attempt to catch the robbers, soon realized that many people who picked the money were actually the robbers' accomplices. "After I blocked them with my bike, the two robbers crashed but I was immediately hit by another one, who took the money," … [Read more...]

Press Digest (October 21-24)

These are some of the leading stories in the Vietnamese press from October 21-24 October 21 TUOI TRE - Le Thi Nga, deputy chairwoman of the National Assembly's Justice Committee, said corruption at many state-owned economic groups and state corporations raises questions about responsibilities of both managerial cadre who commit violations and relevant government agencies which oversee their operations. NGUOI LAO DONG - Authorities have busted dozens of cases of illegal trafficking of rhino horns and elephant tusks into Vietnam in recent years.  They have confiscated more than 100 kilograms of rhino horns and thousands of kilograms of elephant tusks. PHAP LUAT THANH PHO HO CHI MINH - The Ho Chi Minh City International University's Department of Biomedical Engineering has made and tested a device that will help patients check their blood pressure, cardiovascular and respiratory health at home and send the indices to doctors through a digital network. This will enable doctors to … [Read more...]