Monday, October 24 2016


Gov’t: overturn online business limits

Update: October, 04/2016 - 09:00
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) yesterday proposed eliminating a ban on business services offered online or via communication networks without getting prior permission. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) yesterday proposed eliminating a ban on business services offered online or via communication networks without getting prior permission.

Reporting to the National Assembly Standing Committee, which kicked off its fourth meeting session yesterday morning, Justice Minister Lê Thành Long said that the Government decided to eliminate Article 292 three months after it stirred up debate in the media and generated criticism from the business sector, especially the start-up community.

Violation of the current law carries a fine of up to VNĐ5 billion (US$222,200) and five years in prison.

The MoJ’s proposal faces opposition from the National Assembly (NA)’s Ombudsman Commission, which fears that multi-level marketing (MLM) business models - known as "pyramid schemes" - would spread in the countryside.

“There has been an on-going pyramid scheme nightmare in the countryside. I have received so many complaints from residents about the issue,” Ombudsman Committee Head Nguyễn Thanh Hải said.

“Hence I earnestly ask to keep the part regulating MLM in Article 292,” she said.    

Article 292 was just one among 141 articles of the Penal Code 2015 proposed by the MoJ to be amended or supplemented after the newly-adopted law was found to have several legal loopholes just a few days before its implementation date on July 1.

Deputies of the 13th NA - the very legislature which passed the error-riddled Penal Code last year - had to urgently vote on June 29 to delay implementation of the law. Some claimed the legislation contained as many as 90 legal faults.

The Government, and the MoJ in particular, was asked by the NA to revise and fix all the loopholes before it is resubmitted to the NA for approval.

Drugs ban extension

The MoJ also proposed adding two new drug substances - cathinone and XRL 11 - to the list of drugs banned by the Penal Code.

Cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant, is found in khat leaves, the smuggling of which has seen a steep increase this year. The other substance is made from synthetic cannabinoid products sold under brand names like Spice or K2, which are rapidly gaining popularity in Việt Nam.

The MoJ also asked to remove the general terms of “other drug substances” regulating drugs offences, saying unknown drugs should not be included in the law for the sake of caution.

“Việt Nam has very strict penalties for drug offenders so any extension of the drug list subject to criminal charges should be considered carefully,” Justice Minister Lê Thành Long said. For instance, under the Penal Code, those who carry 100 grams of heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine could face a death sentence.

But the NA’s Law Committee Chairman, Nguyễn Khắc Định, said different kinds of drugs appeared every now and then and it would be too complicated to amend the law whenever a new drug came out.

He added that having the terms “other drug substances” regulated in the Penal Code would effectively help law enforcement by providing a legal basis for them should a new drug be smuggled into Việt Nam. — VNS

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