Hoarding violations bug HCM City

Update: September, 30/2014 - 09:20
The law says a hoarding must not be more than a metre wide or four metres high, and never exceed the height of the building.— Photo thegioibanghieu

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City administration has instructed the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to develop a long-term policy for outdoor advertising to bring it under stricter control, a city official said.

Nguyen Van Minh, deputy director of the department, said the department has also been ordered to crack down on illegal hoardings and slap penalties on offenders.

Districts have been asked to report on illegal outdoor advertisements to the department so that it can in turn report to the city administration today.

Many hoardings in the city flout the Advertisement Law's provisions on size and languages, he said.

The law says a hoarding must not be more than a metre wide or four metres high, and never exceed the height of the building. If erected breadthwise, it must not exceed two metres in height or the width of the building.

But many around the city are up to four metres taller than the building on which they are erected, especially on Dien Bien Phu, Ly Thai To, and Phu Dong roundabouts, February 3 and Le Hong Phong streets in District 10, and Dinh Bo Linh and Bach Dang streets in Binh Thanh District, and Truong Chinh Street in Tan Binh District.

They are so large that they cover the entire facade of a building, threatening to cause problems in case of a fire.

At the Hang Xanh intersection, hundreds of giant hoardings are mounted on buildings, each of which has an average of two. Some houses even have five or more. Besides, flyers are stuck everywhere in the city, especially on electric boxes and poles.

It can be safely said that none of this adds to the city's looks.

Language breach

According to Article 18 of the 2013 Advertising Law, all advertising content must be in Vietnamese except brands and trademarks in foreign languages that cannot be translated into Vietnamese.

Where both Vietnamese and foreign languages are used, the size of the foreign letters must not be more than third-fourths of the size of the Vietnamese letters and should always be below the Vietnamese.

But hundreds of English-only hoardings can be seen on De Tham, Bui Vien, and Pham Ngu Lao streets in the backpacker area in District 1.

On Ngo Van Nam Street in District 1 where there are many Japanese and Korean restaurants, the name boards do not contain any Vietnamese. Some boards have addresses in Vietnamese but the dishes are listed only in foreign languages.

The same problem also exists in Phu My Hung in District 7 where many expatriate communities live. A number of restaurants, stores, and companies in Hung Gia and Hung Phuoc residential areas in Tan Phong Ward in District 7 have hoardings exclusively in foreign languages.

Some restaurants in District 5, home to the largest Chinese community in the city, have boards on which the Chinese characters are larger in size than the Vietnamese letters.

HCM City has more than 175,000 hoardings of which more than 11,000 are illegal. Around 1,507 are exclusively in foreign languages, mostly in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and Binh Thanh, according to the department.

The department has worked with district authorities to instruct 6,841 organisations, individuals, and companies to fix their boards.

It has punished businesses for such violations, collecting more than VND2 billion (US$94,340) in fines in just the first four months of this year. — VNS