Social News 10/12

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National award for media coverage of VN launched The Party Central Committee's Commission for Publicity and Education and Steering Committee for External Information Services launched their first-ever award for Viet Nam-related journalism for overseas audiences yesterday in Ha Noi. Print newspapers, radio, television and e-newspapers published in Vietnamese and foreign languages, both domestically and overseas, are eligible for the prize. Pham Van Linh, deputy chairman of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Publicity and Education and the Steering Committee, said that broadcasting Viet Nam's image to the world and spreading the word about the country's achievements were important tasks. … [Read more...]

Transport companies cut fees as fuel prices fall

A line of taxicabs parked on the roadside of Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi. Many taxi companies recently annouced fare cuts falling rapid declines in fuel prices this year. - VNA/VNS Photo The Duyet

HA NOI (VNS) - Transport and taxi companies have moved to cut fees amid decreases in petrol and oil prices this year and complaints about their slow response. … [Read more...]

New taxi app Uber frustrates government officials

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VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese management agencies are arguing about the legitimacy of the taxi app Uber in the country. … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoitrenews October 26

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Enjoy your breakfast while reading these brief news items on the Vietnamese media:Business - The keel laying ceremony of Tam Dao 05- the country's largest self-elevated rig, which costs up to US$230 million, took place on Saturday in southern Vietnam's Ba Ria- Vung Tau Province. The rig's investor is Viet- Nga Vietsovpetro. - The Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee has instructed the city's Department of Planning and Architecture and Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to summarize the 134-year development of Saigon Tax Trade Center- one of HCMC's icons- and gather expert opinions regarding the preservation of the center's certain structures. A large area of the center will be pulled down for the development of a 40-story building, which will start next year. … [Read more...]

Vietnam reality shows rife with fights, dashed dreams

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Over recent years, Vietnam's show business has been overwhelmed with reality shows, which are characterized by fights and contestants' dashed dreams. … [Read more...]

Social News Headlines 4/3

Ministry of Construction defends controversial circular Deputy Minister of Construction has had to explain circular 16, which has been blamed for cheating home-buyers. At the press conference on February 28, deputy minister of Construction, Nguyen Tran Nam, denied the accusation from the NA's Juridical Committee, who said that their circular was not legitimate and might provide investors with loopholes to swindle customers. The circular provides for two different measures of an apartment: that of the floor space and that of the area of walls and electrical boxes, elevators and hallways. This provides for two separate measuring systems. "The investors and customers can still negotiate their own contracts to find the best solutions. Either way, the price of an apartment won't be different. But buyers must know that the investors have not calculated by square metre, but by the number of apartments," said a representative of the ministry. The deputy minister added that they would … [Read more...]

Capital city taking taxi drivers for a ride

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by Nguyen Thanh Ha Ha Noi has more than 17,000 taxi operating in the city and the parking area needed for them is about 10-15ha, but current acreage accounts for only 5-10 per cent of their total need, according to the Ha Noi Taxi Association. The Ha Noi department of Transport and Communications has proposed another 300 parking lots for about 3,200 taxis, compared with the 32 current parking lots with stopping times limited to 15 minutes. The initiative resulted from the fact that many taxi drivers have to stop on banned streets and other crowded areas to pick up or drop off their customers, making traffic jams worse, said Nguyen Hoang Linh, deputy director of the department. Taxi driver Nguyen Van Long, from the Phu Dong Taxi Co, said, "Once I took a sick man to Bach Mai Hospital. I had to stop at the gate to let him out of my taxi, but suddenly the police came and fined me VND800,000 (US$40). I know very well that it wasn't a drop-off area, but how was my customer supposed to … [Read more...]

Vietnam transport ministry moves to protect taxi passengers

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Inspectors from the Ministry of Transport check a taxi in Hanoi The Ministry of Transport has told authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to introduce measures to protect taxi passengers following recent reports of foreign tourists getting ripped off. Besides introducing protective measures, transport departments in Vietnam's two biggest cities have also been asked to tighten oversight by checking taxi companies' operations and throwing the book at violators, news website VnExpress reported Wednesday. They are required to report back to the ministry by May 30. The ministry said several taxi operators in the two cities have recently been found flouting regulations and overcharging passengers. With many foreigners too falling victim, Vietnam's tourism image has taken a beating, it said. Following the ministry's instructions, an official from the Hanoi Department of Transport's inspectorate, who wished to be unnamed, told VnExpress that his agency is inspecting the operations … [Read more...]

Be careful with tricks of Hanoi’s taxi drivers!

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VietNamNet Bridge - In the last two weeks, in Hanoi, several cheating and overcharging incidents occurred against foreign visitors or people from other places to Hanoi. This situation has made many visitors worry.One more taxi driver fined for overcharging foreign tourists"I was also cheated by taxi drivers," says tourism official In early April, a taxi driver of Trung Viet Taxi was detected to install an additional chip to control the taxi meter. With this chip, if the car runs at the speed of 20 km an hour, the charge will be VND400,000 ($20) for 1km of road. All sorts of tricks Specifically, on April 28 and May 10, two drivers of Trung Viet and Thanh Nga taxi firms were accused of overcharging foreign tourists. Shortly thereafter, the authorities offered apology to the victims and asked the taxi firms to punish and to tighten control over their taxi drivers to improve the quality of taxi services in Hanoi. The concern is although the relevant agencies have strengthened inspection … [Read more...]

Taxi drivers in Hanoi cheat customers

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Hanoi police continue to grapple with the problem of taxi drivers using different methods to cheat customers out of money, especially foreign tourists. A Thanh Nga Taxi found cheating foreign tourists Hoang Van Manh, Deputy Chief Inspector of the municipal Department of Transport said that one popular way of cheating on fares is putting a chip into the meter that can be controlled remotely by the driver with a cell phone. Despite efforts by the authorities, taxi operations in the capital have yet to improve. Manh attributed the situation to uncontrollable taxi operations in the city. "While HCM City has only 31 taxi companies with 15,000 vehicles, Hanoi has 117 companies with 17,000 vehicles. This means that an average sized taxi company in HCM City has hundreds of vehicles, while in Hanoi and average sized company may only have five or ten," he said. A driver from Trung Viet Taxi forced to return money and apologize He proposed merging smaller taxi companies together so that … [Read more...]

Taxi driver sacked for fleecing foreign couple

HA NOI (VNS)— The Ha Noi-based Thanh Nga Taxi company fined and dismissed a taxi driver who was found guilty of charging an Irish couple a fee 10 times higher than the actual fare. The company's inspector, Tran Duc Tri, said that Pham Van Linh, 38, got a fine of VND5 million (US$230) and was dismissed on Sunday. He has also been summoned to Hoan Kiem District's Hang Buom Ward police station for further investigations, Tri added. Linh picked up the couple from a hotel on Hang Bong Street and took them to dinner, a distance of nearly 2km, for which he asked for VND300,000 ($14) instead of the proper cost - about VND30,000 ($1.40). He allegedly took a VND500,000 ($23) banknote from the husband but only returned a VND20,000 banknote. The tourists then took a picture of the cab's license plate and reported the case to local authorities. — VNS … [Read more...]

One more taxi driver fined $for overcharging foreign tourists

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VietNamNet Bridge - After seeing the Irish tourists to apologize and return the money, a taxi driver of Thanh Nga Taxi had to pay VND5 million ($250) fine and was fired for the act of overcharging.Overcharging foreign travelers tarnish Vietnam's imageHanoi moves to tackle increasing tourist scamsHanoi establishes hotline for reporting taxi overcharging The photo of the number plate of the violated taxi taken by the Irish tourists. Mr. Tran Duc Tri, deputy director of Thanh Nga Taxi said after being informed of the act of overcharging of driver Pham Van Minh, the firm summoned the driver and met the Irish couple to apologize and return the excess amount. The driver was reported to collect nearly VND500,000 ($25) of fares for 2km road. According to Tri, this is the first similar case in the past 11 years of Thanh Nga Taxi. "This action has caused major influence on the reputation and image of the company and Hanoi's tourism," he said. After imposing a VND5 million fine and … [Read more...]

Taxi driver sacked for fleecing Irish couple

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A Hanoi taxi firm has fined and sacked a cabbie who has been found guilty of overcharging an Irish couple, said its inspector. > Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist >> Hanoi sets up taxi hotline for fleeced foreign tourists">> Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist >> Hanoi sets up taxi hotline for fleeced foreign tourists" class="attachment-medium aligncenter" rel="lightbox" />>> Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist >> Hanoi sets up taxi hotline for fleeced foreign tourists Tran Duc Tri, inspector of Thanh Nga taxi firm, Saturday confirmed with Tuoi Tre that Pham Van Linh, 38, the accused cabbie, has been fined VND5 million ($250) and sacked. Linh has also been summoned to local police station for further investigations, Tri added. As previously … [Read more...]

Cabbie returns overcharged money to foreigners

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A taxi driver of Thanh Nga Company who ripped off an Irish couple in Hanoi has returned the overcharged money to the couple and apologized to them. > Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist">> Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist" class="attachment-medium aligncenter" rel="lightbox" />>> Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist >> Hanoi sets up taxi hotline for fleeced foreign tourists The driver, P.V. Linh, 38, a native of Nam Dinh Province, returned the overcharged amount to James Murtagh and his wife yesterday afternoon, one day after he overcharged them after driving them for a distance of only 2 km. As previously reported, Murtagh and his wife took a taxi belonging to Thanh Nga Company to a restaurant at 69 Ma May Street in Hoan Kiem District on May 9 night. When … [Read more...]

Hanoi cabbie charges Irish man $23 for 2 km

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In the latest rip-off case, an Irish man complains that a taxi driver in Hanoi charged him VND480,000 (US$23) for a distance of just 2 kilometers. >> Scam cabbie fleeces and punches Japanese tourist>> Hanoi sets up taxi hotline for fleeced foreign tourists >> Hanoi looks ugly due to cheating taxis: official James Murtagh told Tuoi Tre that he and his wife took a taxi belonging to Thanh Nga Company to a restaurant at 69 Ma May Street in Hoan Kiem District on May 9 night. When the taxi arrived at the restaurant, 3 km away from their hotel at 195 Hang Bong, the driver asked the couple to pay VND300,000. According to Murtagh, he handed the driver a 500,000 banknote but the driver gave back only VND20,000 to him. Upon being asked why, the driver replied he received just VND50,000. This means the driver took VND480,000 from the couple while the maximum taxi fee for such a distance is just VND40,000. Murtagh then took a photo of the taxi's number plate as … [Read more...]

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/4

Possible tax breaks cause concern for budget The government has proposed to the National Assembly to cut corporate income tax rates from 25% to 22%. The government made the proposal at a National Assembly Standing Committee meeting on April 16. Earlier, it recommended a reduction to 23%. The current 25% tax rate is forecast to result in a reduction in the budget of VND1.43 trillion (USD68.1 million) this year. The tax of 25% has been imposed since 2008 following being slashed from 28%. The government has also recommended applying a flat rate of 20% on corporate income tax for small and medium-sized enterprises, said Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai. She added that growth in this sector would be good for the state budget. By January 1, 2016, the common corporate tax for all enterprises is expected to stand at just 20%. Phung Quoc Hien, Chairman of the National Assembly Finance and Budget Committee, however, added to a number of concerns about the possible impacts of lowering … [Read more...]

Police brutality on the rise

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The alleged shooting of a man by a plainclothes cop in the southern province of Dong Nai on Tuesday is the latest in a series of incidents involving excessive use of violence by the guardians of the law, some of which have been fatal. According to police in Bien Hoa Town, 32 kilometers to the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen Hoai Tan, 22, a local policeman in Neighborhood No. 5 of Long Binh Ward, shot a man in the thigh and abdomen during a skirmish involving the policeman and a group of five people. The shooting occurred at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday (April 12) when Tan was walking in the neighborhood with two other policemen. They came across a group of five people gathered in front of Long Binh Primary School. Tan asked the group to disperse but they ignored his request and a fight broke out. Tan allegedly fired twice in the air with his pistol and shot one man twice, in the abdomen and leg. The gun jammed after the fourth shot. The person being shot was 30- year-old … [Read more...]

How the poor celebrate Tet

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The needy families who have lived in cramped neighborhoods in downtown District 1 for several years can hardly afford good food, let alone decorations, for their Tet holidays. Poor peddlers "We can only afford 10 kg of rice and 2 kg of meat with some vegetables, at most, in good years," said 53-year-old Nguyen Thi Nga, who lives in the attic of a house on Pho Duc Chinh street. Nga confided that, though she is heavily in debt this year, she will try to afford a pot of thit kho (pork brined with coconut juice) so that her grandkids can enjoy a taste of Tet. "We don’t dream of banh chung (square-shaped glutinous rice cake) or other expensive Tet dishes," she lamented. Ten members of Nga’s family, as well as her older brother and his wife, are crammed into the shabby, 12m2 attic. They had to expand the attic forward for sleeping space. Her husband and children, who work as a petty fixer, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver and lottery peddler, gather for a plain lunch … [Read more...]

Party official’s wife arrested for assault suspected of murder

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The wife of a commune Party unit chief in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, arrested last Wednesday for allegedly slashing and severely injuring two creditors, is now a murder suspect in another case. Provincial police are investigating 38-year-old Le Thi Huong in the disappearance of Duong Thi Thuy Binh Ha, 51, chairperson of the Red Cross association and cashier of the Kim Long Commune People's Committee. Ha has not been heard from since May 14, 2012. Following Huong's arrest, rumors swirled that Ha had been murdered and her body dumped in a well near the former's house. Huong's husband is the Secretary of the Kim Long Commune Party unit. On Monday (January 21) morning, police pumped water out of the well but failed to find Ha's body, the Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported the same day. A day after she disappeared, Ha's son, 35-year-old Nguyen Hai Son said in a complaint to police in Chau Duc District (where Kim Long Commune is located) that his mother had gone to work in … [Read more...]

Foreigners want more effective crime hotline 

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While urging for more vigilant responses from police to complaints of noise and crime, foreigners also concur that they do not have major security problems in Ho Chi Minh City Foreign tourists stroll down a street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Many foreign expats concurred that although the city is relatively safe for foreigners, a more effective crime hotline is necessary for emergency situations, one which would elicit swift police action. An Indian expat was happily shooting pictures of "mobile nurseries," vendors selling plants on bicycles when his expensive camera was snatched by a young man on a motorbike. The theft happened last August in broad daylight on Cong Hoa Street opposite the Maximark supermarket in Tan Binh District, but there was "nothing I could do." "I went to the local police station but it was closed. When I was robbed, other people around, including lottery ticket sellers and the local xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers were smiling. It was as though … [Read more...]