Bus passenger loses eye in stone attack

Update: October, 06/2014 - 09:53
In the last two months, dozens of buses travelling on the Gia Lai-HCM City and Gia Lai-Da Nang routes have been hit by stones.— Photo giaothongvantai

DAK LAK (VNS) — Authorities in the Central Highland provinces of Gia Lai and Dak Lak have taken steps to protect inter-provincial buses on national highways 14 and 19 from being attacked by vandals throwing stones. One middle-aged bus passenger recently lost an eye.

In the last two months, dozens of buses travelling on the Gia Lai-HCM City and Gia Lai-Da Nang routes have been hit by stones.

The stones have also broken dozens of bus windows and threatened the safety of passengers.

Director of the Hong Hai Transport Services Company, Nguyen Hong Hai, said his buses had been attacked several times with stones, which had injured passengers.

On September 24, a 56-year-old passenger travelling from Gia Lai to HCM City on National Highway 14 had his left eye hit by a big stone, causing him to totally lose the eye, Hai said.

Pham Thanh Yen, director of Viet tan Phat Transport Company in the Central Highlands, said his buses had been hit nearly 90 times, causing a damage of more than VND422 million (US$20,000).

Last month, the buses were targeted 11 times. Stones broke windows and created big dents in the bodies of the vehicles.

Tran Quoc Anh, deputy director of Bao Viet Insurance Company in Gia Lai Province, said that so far this year, his company had to replace nearly 250 broken windows at a cost of more than VND1 billion ($50,000).

Police said there were several known hot spots on bus routes in Gia Lai Province's Chu Puh, Mang Yang and Chu Se districts, Dak Lak Province's Ea H'Leo and Krong Buk districts, Dak Nong Province's Dak Mil and Cu Jut districts and Binh Phuoc Province's Bu Dang District.

They added that most attacks occurred at night so investigations faced many difficulties.

To deal with the problem, the Gia Lai authority last week told all sectors to investigate the situation. Localities were also told to check on people known to be public nuisances.

Police in Dak Lak Province sent an urgent message to colleagues at grassroots level to keep their ears open for news about stone-throwers.

Colonel Doan Quoc Thu , deputy director of the provincial public security department, said that recently several unruly boys had been caught red-handed. They did not appear to have been influenced by outside influences, he said.

He said that police teams had been asked to take regular patrols in hot spot areas. — VNS