It has been a busy few weeks for Ha Noi's traffic policemen and women. Many have had to hit the gym following the news that fat and short officers would be relegated to desk duty, and now they are being instructed to take part in IT courses so that they can learn how to use tablet technology on duty.
A recent initiative from the Ha Noi Traffic Police Department states that officers will be given an iPad to better do their job.
The head of the department, Colonel Dao Vinh Thang, has said that the tablets will allow police to show lost road users the nearest and most convenient way to their destination.
They will also have the ability to use the technology for checking up-to-date traffic regulations, appropriate fines to be enforced and a record of traffic violators, he said.
As with the earlier initiative to weed out plump policemen, Thang confirmed that the recent move is aimed at improving the force's public image. It seems that drivers will soon be served by unanimously healthy, attractive, friendly and tech-savvy traffic officers.
With questions still unanswered about which apps would best serve the police in their important duty (presumably Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies will be banned), surely this is a big opportunity for the sellers of tablet computers to find their new niche?
Plastic surgery excuse won't get you out of jail
Despite using a rather imaginative excuse, Ly Thi Ai Loan, 26, could not escape a prison sentence after being found guilty of involvement in a notorious prostitution ring in the Mekong Delta.
Loan was accused of being an important chain in the syndicate headed by her sister Ly Thi Ai Phi, and responsible for recruiting prostitutes.
In late 2011, 30 members of the ring faced trial in the Bac Lieu People's Court. Phi was sentenced to seven years in prison while 29 owners of hotels and motels were imprisoned for up to six years.
Loan and two others managed to escape before the trial, but she was captured in April last year.
At the HCM City People's Supreme Court yesterday, Loan was sentenced to three years in prison. She made an ambitious plea for a suspended sentence by suggesting that she was suffering from an infection following plastic surgery on her breasts and so jail time would be bad for her health.
The court, unsurprisingly, denied her request, which goes to show that the surgeon's knife might not always be the answer.
A gold-rated farce
When the family of Nguyen Thi Xuan Lan returned from a trip to their
house in Central Highlands Gia Lai Province's Pleiku City on the last day of 2012, they found they had been the victims of a burglary.
Lan, however, reported to the police that nothing had been stolen.
About one week later, she went back to police to report that actually 5 taels of gold had gone missing, worth about VND43.9 million (US$2,100) each. The city's police started their investigation without delay.
The successful capture of four suspects this month revealed that in fact the stolen property worth up to VND3 billion (US$143,000).
The suspects admitted that they found a suitcase containing around 60 taels of gold, not just 5, along with a stash of jewelry. Eventually Lan admitted that the missing amount was indeed 65 taels.
One other suspect is still on the loose with a share of the loot.
Many people have been trying to figure out the reason why Lan and her family did not admit the real amount of stolen gold immediately, while others are questioning whether the gold should be returned to them when it is retrieved, as they did not seem to miss it too much.
Money really must be funny in a rich man's world.
No room to spare
It has been said that once you get a permanent Government position, you will never lose it no matter what occur. Fifty-one public servants in southern Long An Province's Ben Luc District had found some truth in that saying the hard way.
The group said that on one fine day they were invited to the district's department of home affairs and encouraged to write their letters of resignation. They were told that there was no money available to pay for their salaries and promised that those who volunteered to leave would receive a severance pay equivalent to half-a-months salary.
Since they had all been recruited legally since 2008 and were performing well and professionally in their work, unsurprisingly nobody accepted the proposal.
Nguyen Thi Kieu Nga, head of the department, admitted that the 51 public servants had been recruited in the last five years, but in that time none of their senior colleagues had left their permanent positions. Simply put, there were no vacancies.
Meanwhile, Le Vinh, deputy head of the province's home affairs department, said that decisions about staff, budgets and salaries in Ben Luc must be decided by the district itself.
The situation has now resorted to bickering, in-fighting and confusion. What is certain is that 51 good public servants have been left unsure of their fate. — VNS