Thứ Hai, 31 tháng 12, 2012

 Taxis in Vietnam plagued by scams? Think again 

If you think taxi service in Vietnam is plagued with rip-offs and scams, think again as a foreigner has recently confessed on Malaysian newspaper that Vietnamese cabbies are “very courteous and polite” and that “the fear of being cheated was not there at all”.
Sobrie Shafie from Bangi, a small town in Selangor, Malaysia made the comment in a short article headlined “Taxi drivers can learn from Vietnamese” published on the Star Online at on December 28.
In case you want to read the whole story, here it is:
I have just returned from Vietnam and what impressed me most about the country was the efficient taxi service in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Metered taxis are readily available and willing to take you to any destination without any hassle.
The drivers that I came across were very courteous and polite.
For a foreigner like me, the fear of being cheated was not there at all.
I cannot help but compare their service and what we have back in Kuala Lumpur.
Here we hear about foreigners being overcharged, taken for a ride and cheated.
In a developing country like Malaysia it is indeed very sad to note the existence of these ill-mannered taxi drivers.
Their actions tarnish the good image of Malaysia. Much has been done but the problem still exists. What else could we do?
Of course, there are many negative stories about fraudulent taxis in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnamese newspapers but wait, there exist scams of some sort in all major cities in the world. Just watch the Scam City series by Conor Woodman and you’ll know what I mean.
In Vietnam, there are also many good cabbies and drivers returning lost bags are not rare.
In May, 2012, Nguyen Van Dung, 34 - a poor taxi driver in the central province of Quang Tri - returned an unclaimed property and cash worth around VND1 billion (US$48,000), to its owner.
One month later, it was reported that Tran Van Quy, a driver for the Ho Chi Minh City-based Saigon Air taxi firm, returned lost assets worth more than US$20,000 in total to a passenger.
Good and bad people co-exist everywhere. So before deciding that cheating is blatant in Vietnam as I have heard so many of my expat friends complain, think again.
 Most prominent cultural events in 2012

VietNamNet Bridge - The year 2012 nearly ends with many achievements and scandals. Below are some outstanding events of the year.

Hung Kings’ worship ritual recognized as world cultural heritage

The unique practice of worshipping Hung Kings in Phu Tho province, Vietnam was recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage on December 6.

According to researchers, no country in the world has a similar ritual to the worship of the nation’s ancestors in Vietnam. For generations, Vietnamese people have believed the Hung Kings are the founders of the country and the ancestors of the nation.

Therefore, the worship of Hung Kings has become a unique cultural ritual in the spiritual life of the nation. It is also a symbol of origin that stimulates solidarity and national pride.

Cultural researchers said the worship of the national forefathers in Vietnam is the highest development of ancestral worship. The unique elements look towards origin and community connectivity.

Also in 2012, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s Buddhist woodblocks (located in Tri Yen commune, Yen Dung district, Bac Giang province) were recognized as UNESCO world documentary heritage in May.

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda now preserves over 3,000 Buddhist woodblocks, carved from the 16-19 centuries to serve training of Truc Lam Zen Buddhist monks. Each woodblock has two sides, carving reverse Han Nom scripts of various contents: medicine, literature, spells, Buddhist rules, etc.

The largest woodblock has a length of more than 1m, a width of 40-50cm with unique carved patterns.

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is known as the "grand temple," a major Buddhist center of the Tran Dynasty, an important place of the three founders of the Truc Lam Zen Buddhism (Tran Nhan Tong – Phap Loa - Huyen Quang).

Currently, the UNESCO is considering recognizing Vietnam’s stone musical instrument as world cultural heritage. 

The public got angry with the “kissing” scandal between pop star and monk 

The kiss between singer Dam Vinh Hung and a Buddhist monk on the stage of a charity show on November 4 in Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest scandal of the showbiz in 2012. The same-sex kiss between the male singer with the monk made the witness startled. Pictures "grabbing" the kiss were quickly spread on the Internet, stirring up a backlash from the public.

As soon as the case was reported by the local media, the two monks were identified. They were also penalized: being kept in for three months. The young monk then returned to secular life while the singer had to pay VND5 million fine.

This “kissing” scandal and a series of scandals related to the outfit of models and artists in 2012 have raised an alarm about the degradation of consciousness and culture of some artists. 

Bang Kieu and Khanh Ly licensed to perform in Vietnam

In late September, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nhan, an official of the Performing Arts Agency, said that the agency granted a performing license to overseas Vietnamese singers Bang Kieu and Khanh Ly until December 2012.

This is not only good news for Khanh Ly and Bang Kieu and their fans but it also shows the open view of the management agency.

Until now, the information about Khanh Ly’s return is unclear but Bang Kieu’s first show in Hanoi after 10 years living in the US attracted special attention of the audience and the media.

Hanoi International Film Festival 2012
The second Hanoi International Film Festival 2012 was held by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in November, attracting movies from 31 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific.

More than 100 feature films, documentaries and short films were screened at nine cinema complexes, including 37 competing in the categories of Best Feature Movie, Best Short Film and the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema Award.

Two Vietnamese films competed with 12 others for Best Feature Movie are: Thien Menh Anh Hung (Blood Letter) and Dam Me (Passion). “Blood Letter” took the award of the jury, the second most important prize for the feature film category.

Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said this film festival provides an opportunity for Vietnamese artists and actors to exchange cultural values and professional experiences and helps spread the image of Vietnam to the world.

Classic music goes to street
The project to take classic and jazz music from formal stage to the street (at No. 61 Ly Thai To street, Hanoi) for free at the weekend was released in 2011 and received positive comments from the audience and experts.

In 2012, the LUALA concert is praised for better quality, with the participation of top singers like Thanh Lam, Hong Nhung and My Linh. 

The LUALA concert was co-organized by DX Corporation, the Music Publishing House, and the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO).

Participating in the program were popular artists such as 21 members of the VNSO and other orchestras in the capital, music editor – musician Tran Manh Hung, sound consultant – artist Nhat Ly, violinist Xuan Huy who led 20 other string instrument artists.

Besides this, the “LUALA Concert Fall Winter 2012” will feature many famous symphony and light music artists, promising to enthrall the Hanoi audiences.

Compiled by T. Van

Chủ Nhật, 30 tháng 12, 2012

 Bac Kan urged to become a civilised and prosperous locality

The northern mountainous province of Bac Kan needs to push socio-economic development, ensure national security and defence and reduce poverty.
NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung made the request  at a ceremony on December 29 recognising Ba Be Lake as a special national relic and registering Bac Kan commune as third-tier urban area.
Chairman Hung noted that over more than one hundred years, generations in Bac Kan province have stood side by side with citizens nationwide in the national construction and defence goals. During the war, the province was a key locality for establishing revolutionary bases in the Viet Bac border region and contributed to the August Revolution’s success as well as the “Dien Bien Phu battle in the air” victory.
Bac Kan’s work on behalf of the nation continued well into the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, uniting the Party, local authorities, and residents in a combined effort to capitalise on the province’s advantages. Chairman Hung said recognising Ba Be lake as a special national relic has created a valuable opportunity to promote, preserve, and develop the region’s heritage. Classifying Bac Kan commune a third-tier urban area lays the foundations for developing a architecturally striking city that will serve as a centre for the province’s politics, economics, and culture.
The NA Chairman voiced his faith in the Party’s and local people’s ability to honour their revolutionary, patriotic tradition and overcome any difficulties encountered during the comprehensive reform process.
During his working visit to Bac Kan from December 29-30, Hung also met with local voters in Quang Thuan commune, Bach Thong district.
Source: VOV

 George Soros spending New Year’s Eve in Da Nang

The world's 22nd richest billionaire George Soros and his wife arrived Saturday in the central city of Da Nang for a three-day trip to welcome the New Year.

Upon the arrival of his special aircraft, the Hungarian-American billionaire was immediately escorted by bodyguards to a car and headed towards the city’s most luxurious resort, the InterContinental.

Sources say the billionaire will spend three days in Da Nang, but his detailed activities during the stay are kept confidential, due to the security contract he inked with the resort.

His residence in the resort costs US$2,000 - $3,000 a day, and is almost definitely protected.

The 82-year-old is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England" because of his US$1 billion in investment profits during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.

As of March 12, Soros was listed by Forbes as the 22nd richest person in the world, the world's richest hedge-fund manager, and number 7 on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth estimated at $20 billion.

He is also the chairman of Soros Fund Management.

He was spotted in Hanoi out of the blue on December 27 in what is now known as a Christmas and New Year vacation rather than a business trip.
Last Christmas, Mark Zuckerberg, owner and founder of the world’s largest social networking service and website Facebook, was also in Hanoi with his girlfriend to enjoy the holiday.
 Vietnamese teen boys crazy about weed 
Tobacco from cigarettes is mixed with crumbled weed to roll a joint that has become popular among teenage boys in Hanoi
Young boys in Hanoi have taken to “fragrant weed” made from the flowery tops of cannabis, a trend that at least one doctor says is cause for some concern.
Smokers say the weed has picked up in popularity as it is cheap, easily available and can be passed off as smoking tobacco.
A high school student, N.T.A., who says he quit after more than two years, said weed smokers usually go in group and there is a lot of empathy. “When one laughs, others join in, and the same thing happens if one cries.”
He also said many small beverage shops on Hanoi streets allow young people to smoke weed publicly, as it only looks like they are smoking cigarettes.
A Vietweek reporter spotted a group of students enjoying a smoke after school at a shop near the Notre Dame Cathedral.
One boy crumbled some dry branches of the “fragrant weed” in one palm with his thumb, mixed it with tobacco from cigarettes, and rolled the mixture in cigarette paper.
Q.T., a high school student who has been smoking the weed for nearly two years now, said once a student is already smoking cigarettes, “it’s very normal” that he starts smoking fragrant weed soon.
He said smokers feel very thirsty after smoking and can drink copious amounts of water, and after drinking, the fragrance of the weed would induce them to smoke again.
He said he and other students use the weed as it is as normal as cigarettes and only “slightly addictive.”
The weed is called “battery” at shops in Hanoi, and is sold for between VND150,000 and 170,000 (US$7.20-8.16) a pack, which can last a smoker four days.
“One just needs to change from having pho and smoothie for breakfast to sandwiches and iced tea and he will save enough for a pack,” T. said.
Some users said smoking the fragrant weed is not always a happy experience.
Nguyen Duc, a college freshman, said “Every time I smoke, I forget everything. Then I feel fatigued and would sleep for several hours.
“During the first months, I ate a lot and it never felt full, but after more than a year, I have been eating much less than normal.”
Dr. Nguyen Khac Dung, a psychiatrist, said the private hospital he works for has recently received a lot of young people with problems like “slight detachment, uncontrolled emotions such as sudden sadness or happiness for no apparent reason, and short memory losses.”
He said, users call the weed “brain eraser,” since they can end up looking ignorant and silly after sometime.
Dung also claimed the weed can decrease libido among men who use a lot of it.
‘Contaminated’ weed
Smokers say weed sold on the market is sometimes mixed with other substances including glue for profit, so long-term users grow the plant by themselves at home.
Several users said weed packs sold on the street also contain seeds that grow easily.
“It’s as easy as growing potted plants,” said Q.C., a high school student.
“Just scatter the seeds and water the soil regularly to maintain humidity. You can harvest after around three months.”
Users believe home-grown weed is of good quality and would protect them from any health problems.
It is sold for nearly VND27 million ($1,300) a kilogram among the users,Vietweek found.
One of the traders, D.A., a second-year college student from the northern highlands province of Lang Son, where a lot of marijuana is grown, refused to talk about his business.
He said he started by sharing weed with several friends as a gift. He also refused to show the Vietweek reporter his marijuana garden.
Hanoi police said they are aware of the situation, but it is hard to spot those who are smoking weed from cigarette smokers.
Under Vietnamese law, producing or storing 500 grams of cannabis or more is a criminal offence.
 Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air
Grand ceremony marks “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory

A grand ceremony was held in Hanoi on December 29 to mark the 40th anniversary of the “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air” victory - an important historic event and symbol of Vietnamese intelligence and revolutionary heroism.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong together with Party and State leaders, former leaders, heroic mothers, heroes and war veterans that had taken part in the 12-day-and-night campaign, attended the event.

Representatives from the Russian and Chinese Defence Ministries and military attachés of Laos, Cambodia, Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) were also at the ceremony.
Delegates at the ceremony said the glorious victory helped the Vietnamese people triumph against the US invasion.
In his opening speech, President Sang stressed that “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the air” was one of the historic victories of the 20th century, which continues to write golden pages in the history of the nation’s struggle against foreign invaders.
“The victory helped the Vietnamese army and people liberate the South and reunify the country in the spring of 1975,” he said.
It also intensified the world revolutionary movement and consolidated trust in victory among progressive force struggling for peace, national independence, democracy and social advance, he added.
According to the President, today, as a peaceful and reunified country, Vietnam is implementing its renewal process and accelerating modernisation, industrialisation and international integration to develop a strong and prosperous nation with a democratic and civilised society that is firmly advancing to socialism.
He said that the adoption of the Platform for national construction during the transitional period to socialism (supplemented, developed in 2011) and the 2011-2020 Socio-economic Development Strategy at the 11th National Party Congress continues to affirm the national construction and defence policy in the new period. It will transform Vietnam into an industrialised country by 2020, maintain independence, sovereignty, territorial unity and integrity, as well as improve the country’s position in the international arena to create a firm foundation for higher development in the next stage.

The event attracted the participation of veterans who had taken part in the "Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air" Campaign 40 years ago.
To successfully fulfill these targets and tasks, it requires the Party, army and people’s determination, he noted.
Sang stressed that the Vietnamese Party, State and people will always be grateful to fraternal socialist countries, international friends, and peace and justice lovers across the world - including the US people - that supported and assisted Vietnam during the war.
Upholding the nation’s tradition of friendship, Vietnam, a reliable partner and responsible member of the international community, wants to strengthen friendship and cooperation with all countries, including the US, for mutual development.
He added that Vietnam wishes to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for industrialisation and modernisation, and firmly defend independence, sovereignty, territorial unity and integrity, and national interests. Vietnam also wishes to build a strong and wealthy nation that contributes to world peace, national independence and democracy.
The President affirmed that with the pride of glorious victories and the tradition of patriotism, the Party, army and people are determined to continue and develop the honourable tradition during the current national construction and defence.
“We will seize all opportunities and overcome all challenges to construct and defend Vietnam, while successfully building a strong nation with prosperous people and a democratic and civilised society deserving to the sacrifice of our elders, adding to the glorious national history,” he concluded.
Earlier, a delegation of Party, State, National Assembly, Government, and Vietnam Fatherland Front leaders paid a floral tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum on the 40thanniversary of the “Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu in the Air” victory.
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, Huynh Dam, joined the delegation.
The delegation laid a wreath at Martyrs’ Monument in Hanoi.
Source: VNA/ Photo: PANO
 Horrors of “manual” abortion
VietNamNet Bridge - Abortion, the end of the development process of a being-formed human body should have been one of the safest medical procedures, but there are still “manual” abortion procedures in the modern time today.

“Manual” abortion not only removes the unwanted pregnancy, but also claims the lives of the mothers. That's a hefty price to pay for ignorance.

The tragic death

In September 2011, the police of Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province said that Ms. Kha Thi B, 18 years old, a resident in Nghe village, Van Mai commune died of an abortion.

Forensic autopsy results showed that the victim had uterine perforation at the waist, punctured vagina, hematoma at the waist muscle near the spine, mesenteric tear, vaginal bleeding and bleeding in abdomen, and she died of acute blood loss.

A stick used to poke into the uterus to cause abortion.
On July 29, 2007 Ms. Vi Thi X from Tien Phong commune, Que Phong district, Nghe An province, was hospitalized in a coma, fluid under the skin. The patient died during the first aid, also  because of manual abortion. 

It was identified that the woman came to see a local herbalist for an abortion. A few days after that, she had severe abdominal pain. She was brought to hospital but doctors could not save her.

One day later, also in Nghe An, Ms. Lo Thi Them, 44, a resident of Don Phat village, Cam Muon commune also died from manual abortion at the home of a herbalist in Chau Thon commune, Nghe An.

Ms. Nguyen Thi D, from Thai Binh province, died of manual abortion in Hoa Binh province. Forensic examination revealed that from her vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, all were decayed and black as mud. There were signs of severe sepsis in all organs.

Another maternal complication case due to manual abortion in Hoa Binh is Thanh, 42, from Com village, Lien Vu commune, Lac Son district, Hoa Binh province. She went to a local herbalist, 80, to break the 4-month-old pregnancy. As a result, Ms. H. admitted to hospital in a state of hemorrhaging, infection, and was transfused with 600ml of blood.

Abortion with holy water

All these tragic cases are derived from a single cause: abortion with unsafe methods, using sticks, inhalant and herbal medicine.

Looking back at the history of mankind, when medicine was undeveloped, the world used various ways of abortion. The most common of which was the use of plants such as: erigeron, pungent mint and others. The use of plants to abort caused serious side effects.

In Egypt, Greece, ancient people also used mercury as a magic pill. In Southeast Asia, abortion was made by creating forces in the stomach. A bas-relief at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in 1150, shows a demon causing miscarriage by using a pestle to strike the stomach of a pregnant woman. In addition, they also used sharp objects such as needles and hangers to insert into the uterus to destroy the fetus.

But it is very odd that in this 21st century, people voluntarily let quacks perform unsafe abortion measures.

The most important reason is that the victims in these cases all lack of knowledge about sex resulting in unwanted pregnancy. They were ashamed and they went to quacks to abandon the unwanted babies, where abortion is not recognized by law in order to avoid the public but could not avoid death.

In Yen Phu commune, Lac Son district, Hoa Binh province, we were truly creepy horror in the way of abortion applied by Mrs. Bui Thi E, 80, who caused abortion complications for Thanh, 42.

In a tumbledown thatched hut that had nothing worthwhile except for a red painted altar and an old wooden bed, E performed abortion procedures for a lot of people with “holy water” and “mulberry sticks.”

According to a victim, first, E prayed in front of the altar and took a bottle of water from the altar to give it to the patient. She said: "It is holy water, remember to drink it three times a day." Actually, the "holy water" is ... ginger juice.

The next step, she used a knife to cut a dried mulberry branch of around 7cm long, one end sharpened, the other end was tied with catgut. It is most frightening when she told the patient to take off her pants and lie on the bed to poke the sticks into the vagina until it reach the fetus. She left the stick inside the vagina, only leaving the rope out and told: "When the stick falls out, you do not have to drink the holy water."

Later that day, the patient had stomachache. Five days later, the fetus fell out but at the same time she also had her uterus cut because of severe infection.

That “measure” was also applied by a herbalist in Cham Mat, Hoa Binh city and Mr. Bui Van Lon, 60, in Thu Phong commune, Cao Phong district, Hoa Binh. In 2004, he was sentenced because of doing abortions with sticks. However, he still practiced abortion illegally.

Mrs. Vi Thi Quyet in Nghe An, who was hailed as "being very ingenious in abortion," performed hundreds of abortions and also caused the death for Vi Thi X (Tien Phong commune, Que Phong, Nghe An).

This woman often used a small piece of rod like a medicated motorcycle spoke of about 10cm long, to insert into the cervix to make abortion.

A village nurse named Quang Ba Tong in Quanh village, Chau Thon commune, Que Phong district, Nghe An had a more special way: tying two condoms together to the tip of a plastic tube and inserting into the uterus to pump inhalant for Mrs. Lo Thi Them.

Also, in Ung Hoa District, Hanoi, a quack used the torch body as a speculum and bending bicycle spokes to pull fetus out. Yet he could still practice this trick for years.

There are also cases of abortion by herbs, which are not proved by sciences for abortion use. Today, not only the young people in the remote areas, but even women in the capital still use herbs for abortion.

What is the cause?

According to doctor Hoang Thi Tam, from Lac Son district hospital, Hoa Binh province, most of the women who saw quacks for abortions are underage or single so they were afraid to go to clinics. Besides, a part of them lacked knowledge or they were too poor to go to hospital.

According to statistics, Vietnam is one of the three countries with the highest abortion rates in the world, with 20 cases of abortion a day on average, of which 20 - 30% in the adolescent group.

Based on that we need to promote the education of minors, enhance the dissemination and communication on reproductive health, safe sex, contraceptive methods and family planning in the remote areas. Especially we have to strengthen the management of illegal abortion services.


 The nun who once raised Philipp Roesler dies

For illustration purpose only. Photo: AFP

Sister Marie Marthe of Divine Providence Portieux, whose real name was Do Thi Suon, has passed away in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province.

Sister Marie, a nun who raised many orphans including the current Vice Chancellor of Germany - Philipp Roesler, died at the age of 82 at a retirement home in Cu Lao Gieng in Cho Moi District, according to the obituary of the Divine Providence Portieux.
Her funeral followed her death at the monastery chapel in Cu Lao Gieng on December 29.
Sister Marie Marthe is the character Tuoi Tre mentioned in an article on November 3, 2009, when we traced back to the place where Philipp Roesler, the then German Minister of Health, lived during his childhood.
Marie Marthe is known as a nun dedicated to nurturing orphans, teaching English to children and adults at the monastery of Providence Council of Soc Trang in 1973 because she was very good at both English and French.

Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 12, 2012

 Ha Tinh rescues pangolins hidden in truck

More than 100 pangolins were found in a truck in Ha Tinh Province yesterday. Photo: Tuoi Tre
With the aids of police, customs officers in Ha Tinh Province have caught a truck illegally carrying more than 100 live pangolins, a species of endangered wild animals.

At 10 pm December 26, a joint inspection team stopped a suspicious truck on National Highway 8A near the Cau Treo Border Gate for examination, but the truck’s driver ran away after getting off the vehicle, said Ly Trong Ngoc, deputy head of the Sub-department of Customs at the Cau Treo Border Gate Economic Zone.

Inspectors immediately examined the truck and found the animals being packed in net bags hidden in the truck’s cabin and trunk. The total weight of the animals was nearly 500 kg.

The truck’s driver failed to show inspectors any documents related to the wild animals that are valued at over VND2 billion (US$96,000).

According to initial investigations, the animals had been bought in an area in the Vietnam-Laos border and were being transported to northern provinces for sale to restaurants, said the provincial Sub-department of Forest Protection.

A similar case happened in the same area on December 11, 2011, when the province’s environmental crime investigation police rescued 106 pangolins carried illegally in a car.
The animals weighed nearly 400 kg and are worth over VND1 billion ($48,000).

Driver Nguyen Van Ngon and his assistant Do Manh Viet failed to prove the origin of their goods and were arrested.

 Eurowindow pressured to buy porn-directed domain

Nguyen Trong Khoa is pictured in front of the Facebook office building at 1601 California Avenue in this file photo.
A Vietnamese man has been summoned by police after building materials producer Eurowindow Holding accused him of buying four domain names related to the company and directing users of one of the sites to porn in order to pressure it to buy the domains at exorbitant prices.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, 35, was on Thursday summoned to the southern headquarters of the Ministry of Public Security in Ho Chi Minh City, a source from the ministry confirmed with Tuoi Tre on the same day.

Khoa was accused of seizing assets and spreading depraved cultural products, police said.

The man told Tuoi Tre in the Thursday interview that everything started when he bought the domain name, and linked it to an international sex website before informing an employee from Eurowindow Holding about his act.

“I just wanted to alert them that they have neglected the protection of their brand name online via the domain name,” he said.

$50,000 for 4 domain names

Khoa said he also demanded to consult the company, and ask them for contact him over the issue.

“A man named Minh, introducing himself as a responsible individual from the company, contacted me a few days later and asked me to set a price for them to re-buy the domain name,” Khoa said.

“At first I didn’t agree to sell, but when they insisted, I eventually accepted the deal at US$50,000.”

Eurowindow Holding’s director of relations, Vuong Bich Thu, confirmed with Tuoi Tre on Thursday that one of her company’s employees has contacted Khoa and was asked to pay $50,000 for all of the four domain names.

Besides the, Khoa also bought the,, and

Thu said Khoa has intentionally directed to a porn website to “create pressure to force the company to re-buy the domain name.”

“This is not only extortion but also a spread of depraved cultural products, that’s why our company reported the case to the Ministry of Public Security,” she said.

However, all of the four are now redirected to the website of Khoa --, as tested by TuoiTreNews.

No violations?

Khoa asserted that he has not violated any Vietnamese laws in directing the to a porn website, as it is an international domain name.

“Should they want to sue me, they have to take me to an international court,” he said.

“It’s also wrong to accuse me of spreading the depraved cultural products as I don’t own that sex website as well as storing or spreading pornography.”

Khoa said he has bought thousands of domain names, mostly international, as a hobby.

“I didn’t buy to resell. I only wanted to consult companies and transfer the domain names to them as gifts rather than hoarding.”

According to lawyer Ha Hai from the Ho Chi Minh City Law Association, the domain name registration is done under the ‘first come, first served’ scheme.

“You can register a domain name without having to prove your legality to own that name,” he said.

There is thus a phenomenon in which people buy the domain names in relation to several individuals or organizations or the geographic indications of localities under hoarding purposes.

“If the real individuals or organizations want to use such domain names, they have to re-buy from the speculators at exorbitant prices,” he explained.

“But there are no penalties for this as it is only considered a civil dispute,” he added.

Earlier Khoa also bought the, in relation to a coffee product of Trung Nguyen Group, and directed it to, a renowned porn website.

The name Nguyen Trong Khoa was known to local netizens last year when he claimed to have worked with Mark Zuckerberg but the boast was later found out to be a PR trick as Zuckerberg in fact chose Vietnam only to spend Christmas with his girlfriend.
 Ancient water system found at Citadel

One thousand years of history: Traces of an ancient and huge water project and parallel ground wall from the time of the Ly Dynasty have been found at the centre of Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Mai Anh
HA NOI (VNS)- Traces of a huge water supply system and parallel ground wall from the time of the Ly dynasty have been unearthed at the former Thang Long Imperial Citadel in downtown Ha Noi, archaeologists have announced.
The findings were the first of their kind found in Viet Nam and were heralded by most commentators and scientists as striking.
"Never before have architectural vestiges from the Ly dynasty (11th to 13th century) been detected in the North Gate area and what was found proves the dynasty's architecture was quite imposing," said Tong Trung Tin, head of Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology, at a workshop on Wednesday
The water structure was about 2m wide and 2m high, archaeologists said. It was thought to have been a waterway, water tank, well, tunnel or spiritual work. It was built with square and rectangular bricks and timber poles in an east-west direction. The ground wall was 1.6m wide.
"It is likely that this huge brick-made water line was part of a drainage system in the Forbidden City or a spiritual structure in accordance with the science feng shui in the Ly dynasty," Tin said.
The workshop was held by Ha Noi-Thang Long Heritage Conservation Centre and the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology to report on recent archaeological excavations at the centre's Kinh Thien Palace area. In previous excavations, relics and artefacts from the Ly dynasty had been unearthed at the archaeological site at 18 Hoang Dieu Street, but no architectural remnants were found, the workshop was told. The new discovery would provide an insight into sanctums inside the imperial citadel.
Prof Phan Huy Le said the findings revealed the continuity of cultural development from the Ly dynasty to the Tran dynasty (13th-14th century) and then to the Le dynasty (15th-16th century).
"A structure of such a large scale has never been seen in any architecture, though its exact name and function remains unconfirmed," Le said.
Ha Noi Historian Association president Nguyen Quang Ngoc said: "Such a water supply system has never been found at archaeological sites at 18 Hoang Dieu Street or in China, Japan, and South Korea that we have studied."
Also found at the 500sq.m wide by 4.2m deep excavation site at the North Gate were relics from the Tran, Le So and Nguyen dynasties. They included flower decorations, drainage, foundation buttresses and brick foundations.
Archaeologists said the findings, which lay at the very centre of Thang Long-Ha Noi cultural axis, intertwined and overlapped over a thousand years.
They recommended the diggings be covered to prevent damage and that further excavations be undertaken to provide more information. - VNS