The voluntary, self-appointed vigilante groups that rose to prominence in New York several years ago have, in recent years, had their counterparts in southern Viet Nam. Binh Duong Province is well known for them – and HCM City.
While we are not sure if they wear the Super Hero or Rastafarian-type masks as they are reported to do in some cities in the US, they still operate out of a sense of righteousness and public interest.
Recently, three would-be do-gooders in the biggest southern city detected Nguyen Hong Vinh and Le Thanh Co snatching a bag from the hands of Vinh's employer. It contained VND124 million (US$5,900). Our heroes chased and caught the two robbers.
But on the way to the local police station, Vinh asked Hieu, the leader of the vigilante group, to set them free. In turn, he offered his pursuers all the money they had taken. After a moment's consideration, our non-heroes took the bribe and released the two robbers. However, police apparently arrived in time to nab both groups before they could disappear.
A couple of weeks ago, HCM City People's Court pronounced the three robber-hunting freelancers, Nguyen Trong Hieu, Le Van Hiep and Nguyen Xuan Huy, to between 18 and 30 months' imprisonment for, as it was quaintly termed: "Receiving bribes."
At the same hearing the two original robbers, Nguyen Hong Vinh and Le Thanh Co, were each sentenced to three years' jail. Maybe the vigilantes got lesser sentences because of their previous good reputations. Maybe. Maybe.
Keeping you postered
Earlier this month, inspectors from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the layback northern port city of Hai Phong fined the organiser of a sexy music show VND20 million (US$900) for violating advertising regulations.
The event was advertised with posters featuring bikini-wearing "hot girls" (models and actresses in-between jobs) and the sentence: "This music show is not for children under 18-years' old and decent women."
Worried that the show might attract sexy girls in skimpy clothes, the department's inspectors asked the organisers to promise that performers would not be showing too much of their "hidden charms".
Despite opposition from a few outraged people, the posters were once again used when the organisers decided to open in Ha Noi – and this time, they were not punished at all. In fact, no inspectors supervised the show and the sexily dressed performers pulled in the crowds.
Ironically, the capital-city event was held as authorities start to ponder the task of improving aesthetics in the performing arts throughout the nation – and how and what to fine scantily dressed artists and promoters. Hallelulya!
Thief nabbed by GPS
On Sunday, Bui Van Luc, owner of an Apple 360 shop in Ngo Quyen Street, District 10, HCM City, woke up to find Iphones, Ipads, Ipods as well as his laptop and VND30 million in cash (US$1,400) had been stolen during the night.
Immediately, he followed the location of his Iphone through a global positioning system (GPS) installed in one of the phones and found that the thief was hanging around Cho Lon station.
Then, accompanied by a police group, he traced the phone and all the other stolen goods to a shop in District 5. There, according to court evidence, Truong Thai Long, who lives in District 11 was attempting to sell the stolen phones.
This could be a salutary lesson for housebreakers who want to steal mobile-phone products. They should quickly check on whether the items are equipped with GPS - or face the consequences! — VNS