HA NOI — The Ha Noi police have raised security around the Huong (Perfume) Pagoda site, which is known for becoming overcrowded and theft-prone during the Huong Pagoda festival.
The pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the Huong Tich limestone mountains in Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, about 60 kilometres from central Ha Noi. The site is most crowded during the Huong Pagoda festival, which takes place during the first 3 months of the Lunar New Year beginning from the sixth day of the Lunar New Year (January 28).
From January 24 (the second day of Lunar New Year), the Ha Noi Police have mobilised more than 150 officials from the local and regional Police departments to maintain security at the site.
Police officials will patrol 17 main areas 24 hours a day in the Huong Pagoda site to prevent crime and ensure safety for pilgrims.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Dan, head of the police group in charge of the Thien Tru Pagoda, the use of radios or speakers for advertising, karaoke singing and serving meat made from wild animals will be prohibited within the pagoda area.
Meanwhile, a broadcasting speaker system will be set up by the festival's organisers to remind the pilgrims to keep the area clean, beware of theft and vendors with over-priced goods.
Dan added that the environment in the Huong Pagoda had been greatly improved after the Yen stream had been cleaned and reminder signs had been set up in visible spots.
Nguyen Huong Tra, a resident from Dong Da District who visited Huong Pagoda on the third day of the Lunar New Year said the security there was quite good, and she didn't witness any incidents.
Tra pointed out, however, that the common case of stall holders forcing high prices on customers was still rampant.
The Huong Pagoda festival is the biggest and longest annual festival in Viet Nam and lasts three spring months, welcoming more than 1 million pilgrims and tourists each year. — VNS