S. Korean investor plans $5-bln property project at Saigon historic shipyard

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Ba Son shipyard in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: VnExpress Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are waiting for the state government’s opinion on a US$5-billion real estate project at Ba Son, the city’s oldest shipyard, being proposed by a South Korean investor. If approved, the plan of EUNSAN will be implemented on September 2, the HCMC People’s Committee announced on Thursday. However, no details were revealed about the project which aims at "renovating" the city’s look. Under a plan greenlighted by the city’s authorities a few years ago, the current shipyard would be moved to Thi Vai-Cai Mep Port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau by 2010, to make space for a complex consisting of hotels, office and apartment buildings. As of the end of last year, the site clearance was yet to be completed because Ba Son Company, a major shipbuilding arm of the defense ministry, did not have enough money to build the new shipyard. Ba Son’s history was … [Read more...]

Ba Son christens largest freighter

Photo for illustration. Source: samco.com.vn PANO - Ba Son Company, under the Ministry of Defence's Department for Industry, successfully shipped out the Princess freighter with the capacity of 6.800 DWT. The ship was built within a ten month time spanand is the biggest ship that Ba Son has built. It was also recorded as the biggest ship launched in the South of Vietnam. The Princess is 103.067 metres long and 17 metres wide. The total value of the contract to make the ship was at USD 11.150 million. Translated by Ngoc Hung … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City should preserve its history and develop education: expats

The forum, which is under the theme of Ho Chi Minh City and its future aspirations, was been conducted on the occasion of Vietnam’s 41st anniversary of national reunification on April 30 (1975 – 2016).

A number of expats who live and work in the city have sent their opinion on how Ho Chi Minh City should develop to a forum launched by Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper. Preserve history Developing tourism is one step in developing the economy of Vietnam in general and Ho Chi Minh City in particular. In order to develop tourism, I think the city should preserve its historic values, including the architecture. I’ve been to Singapore four times and the thing that makes me love it is the way they’ve managed to keep the best of the old and put it right next to a brand new city. Singapore is an old city with lots of English and French colonial buildings, old shop, old temples, etc. So is Saigon. I think thousands of people would like to see no more shops shut down, no more colonial buildings removed and Saigon retain its beautiful patchwork of old and new buildings. People come to eastern countries to experience all of the magical things, not to see concrete buildings. … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s long-delayed $1.2bln solar panel plant may finally see the light of day

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are looking to resurrect a US$1.2 billion solar panel project which has been abandoned since its investor US-owned First Solar made an exit more than four years ago, local media reported on Friday. A new foreign investor is expected to acquire a license by the end of this June to revive the project, Tran Viet Ha, chief of investment with Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority, was quoted as saying by news website Dau Tu. Ha did not reveal the identity of the potential investor who has met with his agency to discuss the project. The project was licensed in January 2011 and had its construction started two months later. It was expected to become Vietnam's first solar modules manufacturing plant when going into operation in 2012 with a production capacity equivalent to 250 megawatts a year. However, in November that same year, the investor suspended the project, citing low global demand. By then, it had invested $50 million … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s long-delayed $1.2bln solar power plant may finally see the light of day

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City are looking to resurrect a US$1.2 billion solar power project which has been abandoned since its investor US-owned First Solar made an exit more than four years ago, local media reported on Friday. A new foreign investor is expected to acquire a license by the end of this June to revive the project, Tran Viet Ha, chief of investment with Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority, was quoted as saying by news website Dau Tu. Ha did not reveal the identity of the potential investor who has met with his agency to discuss the project. Originally known as First Sola, the project was licensed in January 2011 and had its construction started two months later. It was expected to become Vietnam's first solar power plant when going into operation in 2012 with a capacity of 250 megawatts a year. However, in November that same year, the investor suspended the project, citing low global demand. By then, it had invested $50 million in a … [Read more...]

Security camera nemesis of Ho Chi Minh City criminals

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Security cameras installed by citizens of several residential areas in Ho Chi Minh City have contributed to a reduction in crime as well as to their investigation. Initial observations have proven that the security situation in neighborhoods where surveillance cameras have been installed has dramatically improved, said Colonel Nguyen Sy Quang, chief of staff at the municipal Department of Police. Statistics analyzed by officers in the city indicate the effectiveness of the cameras installed in the fight against crime, according to Col. Quang. One police official in District 1 highlighted the positive results brought about by the devices, saying that they have been very helpful in deterring crimes as well as assisting police probes into certain violations. The cameras prevent criminals from engaging in illegal activities given that they are afraid of being recorded, the officer said. "Offenders understand that and tend to stay away from areas safeguarded by the use of … [Read more...]

New bus service connecting Ho Chi Minh City airport, downtown

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New buses line up at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Minh Nam Transport authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday unveiled a new bus service between Tan Son Nhat Airport and the city's downtown area. The service, promised with "high quality," came as existing routes failed to attract both locals and foreign visitors. Southern Airport Transportation JSC, which operates the new route, No. 109, said it has imported modern buses from South Korea and each can carry 70 passengers. The service, available between 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. the next day, connects popular sites, including Ben Thanh Market and the backpackers' area. It costs VND20,000 (88 US cents) to complete the 10.5-kilometer journey that ends at September 23 Park in 45 minutes. Those who travel less than half of the distance only pay VND12,000 (53 cents). There is a bus every 15-20 minutes. … [Read more...]

Social News 16/3

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Hoi An International Food Festival opens The Hoi An International Food Festival "Taste the World", the first of its kind, opened at An Hoi sculpture garden on March 14, attracting 12 chefs from 12 countries worldwide. During the week-long event, the chefs will demonstrate their cooking skills at 12 local restaurants, namely Cargo club, Morning Glory, Inflame club, Mango I, Mango II, Rice Drum, Seafood Garden, Vinh Hung, Seedlings, Mangorooms, Tam Tam and Hai café. The participating restaurants will be decorated and themed to the countries of the visiting chefs, who will prepare traditional dishes from their respective countries. The festival, a new tourism product of Hoi An in 2016, is expected to bring the local cuisine to countries and territories worldwide, thereby popularising the city, its land and people. The ancient city of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam was a renowned international trade port in the 17th century where ships from Japan, China, and European … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City cracks down on illegally parked cabs, buses in ‘backpacker area’

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have issued new regulations for taxis and passenger buses in the ‘backpacker area’ of District 1, an effort to eliminate unlawful makeshift bus stops and ensure traffic order and safety. The municipal Department of Transport has installed traffic signs prohibiting passenger buses from stopping along Pham Ngu Lao Street to wait for travelers to enter and exit. Between 6:00 am and midnight every day, drivers of cabs and passenger buses of less than 26 seats can only park their vehicles in specific spots, which are marked with white paint, and must not wait longer than five minutes for their passengers. Other coaches of 26 seats and over must pick up and drop off their travelers at a bus station in the nearby 23/9 Park. The new regulations are specifically aimed at reducing the risks of traffic accidents as well as congestion in the ‘backpacker area,’ home to a vibrant expat community in the downtown. Several transport … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City may spend $62 million on mobile pumps to fight flooding

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An undated photo of motorbikes moving on a flooded street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh In its latest effort to fight worsening flooding, Ho Chi Minh City has come up with a plan to invest VND1.4-trillion (US$61.9 million) in a response team with mobile pumps. Speaking to Thanh Nien on Friday, a representative of the city's management center for anti-flooding programs, said it has submitted the proposal to the People's Committee. If approved, it will be implemented over the next three years. Most of the cost will be spent on 63 mobile flood pumps, and on building a parking lot and a control center, the representative said. Each pump can handle 20-60 cubic meters of water per minute and the water will be dumped to the nearest canals and sewers. The pumps will be used for 30 flood prone streets to assist the city's inadequate drain system, according to the representative. The plan, like many previous initiatives the city proposed to tackle flooding issues, has raised … [Read more...]

Partially constructed hospitals lie dormant for years in Vietnam

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Several hospitals in Vietnam have not been built despite years of planning, while many others have been abandoned after being partially constructed. Even with a patient overload crisis at local hospitals throughout the country, many of the planned healthcare facility projects remain on pause amid legal and financial troubles. Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have established five essential projects in an effort to alleviate overcrowding at infirmaries in the city, two of which, however, still have yet to break ground due to various legal hurdles. The plan to establish a new hospital for traumatology and orthopedics in Binh Chanh District was originally scheduled for completion in 2012, but the final agreements for compensation and site clearance were not approved by the local People’s Committee until May 2014. The delay took place after citizens living in the facility’s planned zone refused the original resettlement offer, stating that the proposed amount was … [Read more...]

Taxi-hailing apps had a good ride in Vietnam last year: report

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An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone. Photo: Reuters Mobile applications for cab hailing services such as GrabTaxi and Uber have been named Vietnam's biggest consumer hit last year by the Nikkei. The ranking, part of the Japanese newspaper's annual list of Asia's biggest consumer successes, was based on its resident reporters' interviews and reports, its English publication Nikkei Asian Review said on Thursday. Taxi-hailing apps became trendy in Vietnam following the arrival of the US-based service Uber in 2014, it said. Soon after that the Malaysia-based startup GrabTaxi entered the country, where taxis are so prevalent that they have been more than once blamed for worsening traffic congestion. Riding on the popularity of smartphones, the services quickly became popular here. It forced many local taxi companies such as Vinasun to launch their own apps. Even the transport ministry planned to create its own Uber-like … [Read more...]

Hanoi police arrest 8 for meter fraud at gas station

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Hanoi officials inspect a gas station in the capital city on December 24, 2015. Photo: Nam Anh Police in Hanoi on Tuesday arrested eight people who work at two gas stations for allegedly using hi-tech tricks to cheat thousands of customers. Local authorities on Thursday last week made surprise checks at the two gas stations in Hai Ba Trung and Gia Lam Districts and discovered electronic chips attached to their pumps. The chips would manipulate the meters and allow the station to steal around 5 percent of the gasoline that their customers paid for, authorities said. Both of the two managers, who have been arrested, admitted to have had the chips attached for months. The scheme at the Gia Lam station has allowed the staff to accumulate around 4.500 liters of diesel and 3.000 liters of gasoline since October, authorities said. Investigations are continuing. Earlier in October authorities in Ho Chi Minh City revoked the license of a gas station in District 1 for using meter tricks … [Read more...]

HCMC punishes firemen for demanding bribes from company

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Fire police officers Le Thanh Binh (L) and Nguyen Huy Khang during a discussion with a local company, in which the two firemen allegedly demanded bribes. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday said they have demoted a police officer of Tan Binh District's fire department for demanding bribes from a local company. Lieutenant Le Thanh Binh has been reduced to the rank of sub-lieutenant, local media reported. Binh and his fellow officer, sub-lieutenant Nguyen Huy Khang, will be reassigned to other tasks in their office. The punitive reactions came after Do Minh Tam, a local businessman sent a complaint to Tuoi Tre Newspaper accusing the officers of soliciting bribes. Tam said they had visited his company several times since early November to check its fire safety plan. The officers claimed that the plan was about to expire and they could have it renewed for a "service fee" of around US$250, or less than half of a possible cash fine. Binh added that although … [Read more...]

Hanoi closes 2 gas stations for cheating customers with electronic chips

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Hanoi officials inspecting at a gas station, which would later be shut down for cheating customers. Photo: Nam Anh Authorities in Hanoi temporarily shut two gas stations Thursday after allegedly finding them using hi-tech tricks to cheat customers. On the morning of that day officials made surprise checks at the two gas stations in Hai Ba Trung and Gia Lam Districts and discovered an electronic chip attached to each of their pumps. The chips, controlled from a distance by some of the pump attendants, reduced the gasoline pumped into a vehicle by around 5 percent, authorities said. Investigations are continuing. Earlier in October authorities in Ho Chi Minh City revoked the license of a gas station in District 1 for tampering with its meters to cheat customers. Authorities started investigating after Thanh Nien revealed the fraud in September. Its owner admitted to the violations and had to pay a fine of VND96 million, or around US$4,300. … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City assigns private investor to huge anti-flooding project

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The graphic image of a 7.8 kilometer long floodbank along the Saigon River. Photo credit: Trung Nam Group Authority in Ho Chi Minh City has appointed a local construction firm to develop a system of floodbank, drains and floodgates at the projected cost of a VND9.93 trillion (US$436.65 million), local media reported on Friday. The system will free a combined area of 570 square kilometers in districts 1, 4, 7, 8, Nha Be and Binh Chanh from flooding, with about 6.5 million people benefiting from it, the media quoted Trung Nam Group's feasibility study as saying. A nearly 7.8 kilometers long embankment will be built along the Saigon River, while six floodgates will be built at different sections of the river with the heights of 3.5-10 meters. A total of 25 drains will also be built around the giant structures as a supportive system, according to the plan. Trung Nam Group will execute the project in three years, possibly starting this year end, at its own expenses in exchange for … [Read more...]

Vietnam, Belgium boost co-operation through parliamentary diplomacy

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A recent Vietnam visit by a Belgian delegation, led by Senate President Christine Defraigne, has helped deepen ties between the two nations and people. At the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, the eight-day visit, which ended on November 8, was an opportunity for the legislative bodies to exchange experiences and forge future co-operation. Belgium attaches significance to parliamentary diplomacy that fosters commercial, cultural and educational engagement with Vietnam. Highlights of Defraigne’s overseas working trip were her meetings with National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, and Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan. Through discussions, both sides agreed to reinforce legislative relations based on increasing liaison and delegation exchanges. They would co-ordinate the implementation of inked projects and strengthen … [Read more...]

Belgium, Vietnam boost co-operation through parliamentary diplomacy

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A recent Vietnam visit by a Belgian delegation, led by Senate President Christine Defraigne, has helped deepen ties between the two nations and people. At the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, the eight-day visit, which ended on November 8, was an opportunity for the legislative bodies to exchange experiences and forge future co-operation. Belgium attaches significance to parliamentary diplomacy that fosters commercial, cultural and educational engagement with Vietnam. Highlights of Defraigne’s overseas working trip were her meetings with National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, and Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan. Through discussions, both sides agreed to reinforce legislative relations based on increasing liaison and delegation exchanges. They would co-ordinate the implementation of inked projects and … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City shuts down gas station for cheating customers

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A still from a video captured by Thanh Nien shows an employee (wearing white hat) of the Tran Thien filling station arguing with a customer after the customer discovered his trick. Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday said they have revoked the business license of a gas station in District 1 which used meter tricks to rip off its customers. The station Tran Thien, located at 61 Tran Hung Dao Street, will be shut down for at least three and a half months. Officials will consider if it deserves a new business license later. Its owner Tran Luong Thang, who had admitted all the violations that Thanh Nien revealed in an exposé on September 21, also has to pay a fine of VND96 million, or around US$4,300. The station served a large number of drivers every day, thanks to its prime location. Last month, Thanh Nien reporters spent several days around the station to record its activities and found that, in many cases, pump assistants did not reset their meters for new … [Read more...]

HCMC installs cameras in fight against littering, dumping

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Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 12 have installed six surveillance cameras along a bridge which has been notorious as a dumping black spot. Many plastic bags full of waste can be seen along the 100-meter-long Cho Cau Bridge, which connects District 12 and Go Vap District. People often have to hold their breath when they pass through it. Huynh Phuong Hoang, chairman of District 12’s Dong Hung Thuan Ward, where the bridge is located, told local media that littering has been a problem here for years. Litterbugs are mostly street vendors and some families living in the area, according to local residents. Hoang said it cost around VND100 million (US$4,487) to install the six cameras, with half of the amount contributed voluntarily from locals. "A week after the cameras were installed, the amount of trash fell significantly," VnExpress quoted Hoang as saying on Wednesday. Authorities also set up warning signs stating that those who are caught littering will be … [Read more...]