Caught in his own trap
Lieutenant Do Xuan Lang, an officer with Hai Phong Police, tells the story of a young man who followed him home on his motorbike around 9pm one night recently. Suddenly, the young man pushed his motorbike to the roadside saying to Lang that he was an officer from the Ministry of Public Security.
The young man showed Lang his card bearing a stamp from the ministry and asked Lang to produce his driver's licence. But Lang had doubts because the young man was not wearing a police uniform and his hair style was too flamboyant for an officer in the security service.
Lang looked at the card again and realised it was a fake. The information on the young man's card stated that the bearer was an officer with a bodyguard company.
Immediately, Lang asked him to go to the police office. At the police office, the young man said he was a seasonal labourer and borrowed his brother's card to demand money from people who violated traffic law.
The young man said he noticed that Lang was driving his motorbike in the wrong lane and chased him to get some money. Unfortunately for the heavyweight, he bit of more than he could chew ... and he was the one placed under arrest.
Looking death in the face
Nguyen Tu Lam, a man from southern Binh Duong Province, has a strange hobby - collecting unexploded bombs. Over the past 20 years, he has visited many places to buy the deadly missiles, mostly dropped by US warplanes during the American War.
In the early 1980s, it was easy for him to buy bombs at Cu Chi District near HCM City because there were plenty available in the area. Then he started visiting neighbouring provinces such as Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Long An.
Lam, of Dau Tieng District's Thanh Tuyen Commune, now has a collection of almost 300 bombs. Of these, there is one that weighs about four tonnes.
Bombs, shrapnel and bullets on display at the memorial zone help visitors understand the devastation of war and the resilience of the Vietnamese people in the face of certain death. This is why Lam collects them.
To own these bombs, the "crazy" man, as he is often called by local residents, has sold hundreds of taels of gold. "Now and then, I see him carrying bombs and piling them up in his garden," said Hoang Thi Banh, 57, who lives near Lam's house. "It was creepy just looking at them," she said.
Lam said sometimes he paid nearly VND5 million (US$229) for a bomb weighing about 40kg, but scarcity could push the price for some to between VND40-50 million (US$1,800-2,290).
"Many people come to my house to try and buy a bomb, but I never agree. For those who have experienced war and want a bomb as a souvenir, I offer them one free of charge," he said.
Every day, his house is open to anyone who wants to look death in the face.
Car makers on trial
Many people took part in a programme to promote Mini Cooper cars in Ha Noi last Saturday. The exercise invited drivers to perform difficult manoeuvres.
One 60-year-old drove a loan vehicle into the road divider, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to the car. All the air bags also opened at once, pinning the driver down. A Mini representative said the man, had a licence, but was confused between the break and the fuel pedal. However, the driver will not have to pay any compensation to the company. The rep agreed that the exercise was difficult, requiring the driver to fully concentrate and not be distracted. He said it was not the first time visitors joining the programme had been involved in an accident.
In 2012, another driver injured a Japanese expert and a 10-year-old boy at the Viet Nam Motor Show. Maybe it's time car makers considered the safety of all before they let unskilled people test or promote their vehicles. — VNS