BackStories » Vietnam » Hanoi Chairman Scolds Local Officials for Protecting Sidewalk-Blocking Businesses

With Saigon and Hanoi in a competition to see which city can clear its sidewalks faster, Hanoi's mayor blamed local officials and police officers for the capital's slow progress over the weekend.

Tuoi Tre reports that Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, gave a press conference on Saturday morning, during which he lambasted city officials for impeding the "sidewalk reclamation" campaign.

Chung went after the city's roadside beer bars, saying: "I have conducted a probe and discovered that more than 150 out of 180 beer bars in Hanoi are abetted by local policemen."

The chairman went on to demand that officials strive to make the campaign work, adding: "I will name and shame those corrupted officers and officials in each ward and district if they are not serious in their job this time."

According to Chung, lax enforcement by city officials has allowed local businesses to carry on blocking sidewalks, often in violation of regulations. The chairman also asked local authorities to set a good example for local citizens and encourage their family members to respect sidewalks, Tuoi Tre reports.

Meanwhile, VnExpress adds that Chung also slammed local government officials for parking illegally. "You know whose relatives are behind parking spaces near My Dinh Bus Station? Do they come from Bac Ninh province?"

Chung appeared to be implying that family members of city authorities are parking illegally. He also shared a story regarding an illegally placed fruit shop that paid local police VND3 million per month so they would look the other way. Once the chairman summoned the responsible police, the shop disappeared. 

In order to prevent such instances from recurring in the future, Chung outlined three steps to improve enforcement, Tuoi Tre reports. First, the city must educate locals and remind them not to let their businesses encroach on sidewalks. Then, regular inspections will be carried and warnings delivered for violations, after which businesses will have a few days to comply. Finally, suitable punishments will then be imposed on offending businesses that have not changed to meet regulations. Companies that violate these rules three times will have their business license revoked.

Up to 1,500 officers have been working to clear Hanoi's sidewalks since late last month.

[Photo via Budget Traveller]

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