Foreigner arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs into Vietnam 

Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security have taken into custody a Filipino man caught attempting to transport over three kilograms of illegal narcotics into Vietnam, a source told Thanh Nien Monday. The source said police found the methaphetamine in the suitcase of De Arroz Gastardo Merely, 39, at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport last Tuesday. The foreigner told police that two black men hired him to transport the contraband from Manila into Vietnam for US$4,000. Police are investigating the case further. Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws, with those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin facing the death sentence. Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your comment … [Read more...]

SOCIETY IN BRIEF 29/5

Police crack down on drug-linked crime Police began a large-scale blitz on drug-related crimes last weekend in a lead-up to the nation's Anti-drugs Month in June. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the police, border army and customs officers to co-operate to improve investigations at borders and other hot spots. Dung also asked ministries and local authorities to focus resources on Anti-drugs Month. "Information campaigns should focus on drugs hot spots and areas suitable to plant drug crops," he said. "Education on the bad effects of drugs should be given an emphasis, particularly for young people, students, manual workers and vulnerable groups." Drug-related crimes continue to remain a problem in Viet Nam. Police alone uncovered more than 17,000 cases last year, arresting nearly 25,000 people. Between 2006 and the end of 2010, the nation reported almost 64,000 drug cases, with some 100,000 criminals arrested and more than 1,000kg of heroin and 8 tonnes of cannabis and … [Read more...]

Filipino indicted for drug trafficking in Hanoi

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Anti-drug police from the Ministry of Public Security yesterday prosecuted a Philippine national for bringing 3 kg of synthetic drug into Vietnam last week. On May 22 customs officers at the Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi discovered an unknown white solid substance hidden in the suitcase of De Arroz Gastardo Merely, 39, when he arrived from Manila. A test on the substance indicated that it was a synthetic drug. The Filipino was detained immediately and the case was transferred to the police for investigation, the officers said. Merely told the police that he had been hired by two black men to carry the drug from Manila to Vietnam for US$4,000, which would be paid after Merely accomplished his work. Merely was told by the men that a person would contact him when he arrived in Hanoi to take delivery of the drug. The police are continuing with their investigation. Bags of synthetic drug (for illustration only)Photo: Quang Ninh Customs … [Read more...]

Vietnam customer accuses Abbott of shoddy milk product

A pack of Similac ® Human Milk Fortifier which turned black (L) and a normal pack

A Vietnamese mother has demanded an explanation from US milk producer Abbott about a rotten packet of milk supplement. Ta Huyen My of Hanoi told Thanh Nien Monday that she bought a pack of Similac ® Human Milk Fortifier from a drug store of the National Hospital of Pediatrics in Hanoi on April 23. The nutritional supplement for low-birth-weight infants was imported by 3A Nutrition, the official distributor of Abbott dairy products in Vietnam. One day later, while My was preparing to feed her baby girl, she found the milk powder had turned black and seemed to be moldy. Thanh Nien reporters later observed that the milk powder emitted an unpleasant odor like rotten eggs. The expiry date listed on the package was November 1, 2014. My immediately called 3A Nutrition's hotline and was told the company would work with her the following day. The customer care service's employees came to her house on April 25 and said the milk had spoiled during transportation and they would give … [Read more...]

End in sight for thirsty Thu Duc residents, water utility says

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Thousands of residents in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 and Nha Be are still without a reliable tap water supply while they wait for a water project that started in 2005. Residents in Ho Chi Minh City’s Nha Be District buy water from a seller on Huynh Tan Phat Street Monday. … [Read more...]

Tet aid distribution rife with irregularities, fraud

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A 73-year-old man working to care for his cancer-stricken wife and a paralyzed son with mental illness was among the people denied this year's Tet aid granted by the prime minister. Kim Thi Con is among thousands of poor residents in Tra Vinh Province's Tra Cu District who did not receive the government's Tet aid … [Read more...]

Buck exchanged for delay in milk fraud notice

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Ho Chi Minh City health authorities and the national quality control agency have traded accusations over the delay in informing the public about the false labeling of protein content in milk products. A customer examines the content and usage information of a milk product in District 3. Customers have become increasingly worried about the quality of milk products they are buying. … [Read more...]

Hanoi bus station suspends five employees

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A bus terminal in Hanoi Monday suspended five employees after a Thanh Nien exposé showed them receiving bribes from bus operators for approving their vehicle’s departure from the station. Nguyen Manh Tien, director of the Western Bus Station Enterprise that manages the My Dinh Bus Station, said the five staff members were those who had been found receiving illegal money by a Thanh Nien reporter. … [Read more...]

Ninh Thuan eye clinic robs insurance agency blind

Cao Lach from the Luong Giang neighborhood in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan must be a very happy soul. A year after he died in November 2007, he was said to have been admitted to the Ninh Thuan Eye Medical Center for a cataract surgery in his right eye. A Thanh Nien investigation has found that many living residents have also benefited from eye surgeries without their knowing it. The investigation found that the center has faked medical records of patients having health insurance cards to receive their entitlements from the insurance agency. … [Read more...]

Expat midfielder a foretaste of better things to come: experts

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American expatriate Lee Nguyen, who struck a hat-trick in his first official match and the National Cup opener Sunday, is likely to be a harbinger for positive changes to come in Vietnamese football, say experts. Nguyen joined the Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) earlier this month with the highest monthly paycheck ever in Vietnamese football. … [Read more...]

Vietnamese victims of Thai surrogacy racket to return home

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The 15 Vietnamese women who were rescued from an illegal surrogacy ring in Thailand last week will be sent back to Vietnam next week, Thai health minister told Thanh Nien Monday. Investigations showed that the women, seven of whom are currently pregnant and another two have delivered, were victims, and they would receive support to return home, according to Jurin Laksanavisit. … [Read more...]

Illegally parked cars could lose license plates in downtown HCMC

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Authorities in downtown Ho Chi Minh City have sought permission to remove license plates from cars parked illegally on streets. The District 1 People's Committee has made the proposal to the city administration saying officials will resort to this measure when a car is illegally parked without its driver around. … [Read more...]

Chinese continue to demand ransom to release Vietnamese fishermen 

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More than a month after seizing two Vietnamese boats in Vietnamese waters with 21 fishermen on board, a Chinese government agency continues to demand a ransom for their release despite official intervention by the Vietnamese government. Le Thi Phuc, wife of Tran Hien, captain of one of the boats, told Thanh Nien Monday that on March 28 her family called the Chinese agency and asked to speak to the fishermen, but they were not allowed to. "They said that we need to pay some money to talk to the fishermen and for them to be released, and that it is useless to make further phone calls," she said, adding that her family has not tried since. The Chinese agency, reportedly the Nanhai Sea Fisheries Bureau, has demanded US$233,000 to release the fishermen and boats it seized near Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) on March 3. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi has asked China to release the fishermen unconditionally since they were working in Vietnam's sovereign waters. The … [Read more...]

Public apathy blamed as dengue fever changes trend

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The city plans to discuss fresh anti-dengue fever measures with all its districts today, with evidence emerging that a usual drop in cases at this time of the year is being reversed. More than 10,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Ho Chi Minh City this year, with 30 percent of the patients being adult, Le Truong Giang, deputy director of the city Department of Health, told Thanh Nien Monday. … [Read more...]

Probe deepens into river pollution scandal

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Investigations will focus on violation of environmental regulations by Taiwanese monosodium glutamate (MSG)-maker Vedan and the role of local authorities who let it happen right under their noses, officials said Monday. On Saturday, a team of federal environment marshals and inspectors from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment caught Vedan Vietnam in the act of dumping large amounts of untreated wastewater into the Thi Vai River in southern Dong Nai Province. The Vedan Vietnam plant, which is operating in southern Dong Nai Province, has been caught releasing huge amounts of toxic waste into the already contaminated Thi Vai River. … [Read more...]

Sacombank to open first branch in Laos in December

Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (Sacombank), Vietnam's second-largest publicly traded bank, will open its first branch in Laos in December, a source told Thanh Nien Monday. The branch in the capital of Vientiane would support both Vietnamese companies doing business in Laos and Lao companies, a representative of the lender's management said. … [Read more...]

Unions asked to thwart wildcat strikes

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Corporate labor unions slammed for not protecting workers' rights; labor federations to help ensure strikes are legal. A wildcat strike breaks out at a HCMC-based company. Labor federations are looking to educate and organize workers to strike legally. … [Read more...]

Vietnam races to reach flood-hit areas with relief aid

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With floodwaters still at the highest emergency level, the northern region is bracing for new assaults as heavy rains are expected in the coming days, an official warns. A local district leader hands out emergency rations to flood victims in Yen Bai Province's Yen Binh District. … [Read more...]

Rosy profits

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Illegal mining at a presumed rose quartz quarry on the outskirts of Da Nang City has prompted local authorities to step in. A large quantity of extracted rocks, presumed to be rose quartz, await transfer from an illegal mining site in Da Nang City's Ba Na-Suoi Mo area … [Read more...]

Fuel-hoarding fears as price freeze set to end

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A gas station in the northern province of Ha Tay Monday had a board outside saying "Sold Out." Many people had no choice but to look for another place to buy fuel. A fuel station in Ha Tay Province announces Monday it has no stocks. … [Read more...]