National Day Reminder from Our Dear Leaders
01.09.11 This is a reminder for resorts, hotels, restaurants and local businesses. Many of you have received your banners and flags that you are required to voluntarily hang in your properties for Vietnam National Day. This propaganda is your opportunity to show your devotion to the communist party and your affection for the dearly departed messiah of national salvation. Please remember that while these obligatory banners are optional, the fees business must pay for not participating are mandatory.
The local police will also be collecting donations for the orphans and poor funds, as is customary on all national holidays. Remember, nothing says 'I love orphans' more than men in green and tan uniforms carrying crates of Tiger and Heineken out the front gate of your resort. This year bottles of Saigon Beer will no longer be accepted… because it's too difficult for the orphans to re-crate the empty bottles.
Additionally, the Phan Thiet City Tax Office would like to announce that they will be accepting Hennssey on behalf of the orphans. Likewise, the City Health Inspectors, Department of Waterworks and those guys who inspect your restaurant pantry to make sure you have those little government stickers on your jars of peanut butter and cans of tuna--and give you outrageous fines if you don't--all three departments have come together to become drop-off sites for bottles of Baileys and Gordon's London Dry; both orphan favourites.
Businesses unable to voluntarily comply with the above suggested donations should gift cash to the orphans, care of the local police department. As with Tet, its best to present the money in envelopes, though for practicality, little red ones aren't needed—anything in the drawer will do. Remember, whisper, bow and pass with palms down. Currency is preferred in US Dollars. The Dong is dropping and as we all know, our orphans are frugal. No receipts will be provided for your donations. The orphans don't read or write good.
From all of us and your big brother, we hope you have a happy National Day.
Top left: The best and the brightest. Bottom right: Emperor Palpatine, Sith Lord.
22.09.11 There have been reports of thieves impersonating government untility company representatives in Mui Ne. In the con, two or three men enter shops or hotels. One of the men will take the manager away to check the meters (in order to distract them) while the other(s) walk around and steal valuables. There have been reports of computers, ipods, phones and other electronics stolen.
The best course of action, any time a group claiming to be police, utility workers or government officials enter your property, is to make sure that at least one staff member accompanies each individual at all times. As it's very dificult to tell the different between police or other government officials and thieves here, this is the safest way to avoid being robbed.
07.09.11 A new report by Human Rights Watch, as recently discussed by Time Magazine, uncovers a terrible secret in southern Vietnam. The government has been using drug addicts as slave labour to hand-process the nation's Cashew products. These prisoners, which the government claims are patients at drug rehabilitation facilities, are forced to work in nightmarish conditions, frequently tortured, and working up to 10 hours per day for years at a time with little or no compensation at all.
Binh Thuan (this province) is one of the nation's major cashew producers and processors. Before you order your next cashew chicken salad or buy a bag of nuts to take back to your country, we ask that you consider the tortured souls forced to produce it. We invite you to join us in boycotting Vietnam's cashew products until the issue has been satisfactorily resolved.
20.05.10 Update: Drownings continue at Doi Duong and bodies are still washing up on shire. Visit our blog to read about the in situ autopsy on one Victim under the Phu Hai Bridge.
20.05.10 Two 13-year-old boys drowned at an excavation site at Doi Duong beach in Phan Thiet city last Friday. According to rescuers, Nguyen Minh Thanh and Pham Hoang Khang were found dead in a three-meter-deep hole dug for a dyke. The hole, located at the seashore, is usually submerged at high tide, but the contractor, Thai Binh Company (Hai Phong City), didn’t post any warnings. After the incident the company decided to fill the hole. Residents said a few days ago they had rescued five local students who also fell into the same hole.
Read more about child welfare in Binh Thuan Province here.
01.12.09 A 63-year-old woman from Altmünster, Austria drowned this week in strong currents, confirms the Austrian Times newspaper. Her name has not been released, but she leaves behind one daughter and three grandchildren. Her companion was hospitalized after he almost drowned while trying to rescue her. Currents off Mui Ne’s beach are very strong this time of year, particularly in the evenings, and are often impassable, even for strong swimmers.
According to multiple reports there was also a tourist suicide at L'Anmien Resort last week in the middle of the night. Apparently a Russian woman jumped from a balcony on the third floor, dying from her injuries. According to neighbors, the body was discovered the following morning.
Our condolences to all who were affected by both incident.
21.09.09 Last night, amidst the numerous lightning strikes, a young man was killed in Phu Hai Ward (between
Mui Ne Beach and Phan Thiet) while singing Kareoke in his home. It's thought that the microphone in his hand
conducted the electricity that killed him.
Earlier this month, authorities discovered the remains of 2 young men in a Phu Thuy (Phan Thiet) hotel.
It's thought that the men were lovers (one from the town of La Gi and the other from the viscinity of Ta Zon mountain,
otherwise known as "Whiskey Mountain") and died in a murder-suicide. One man had been stabbed 3 times in the heart, and the other overdosed on medication.
06.09.09 We've received two reports of a group of bandits attacking people on the new mini-highway from the red sand dunes in Mui Ne, to the hilltop gas station in Phu Hai. The group of three men, armed with knives and machetes, wait along desolate stretches of the uninhabited, unlit road after dark, and ambush people on motorbikes. At this time we advise people not to drive this road after dark.
Update: 23.08.09 See photos from the very successfull charity event on our blog.
Update: 21.08.09 We've just seen the menu for the event. It's really amazing! Food from around the globe!
14.08.09 Pogo Bar will be hosting a special all-you-can-eat buffet (150,000VND per person) on August 22 to benefit the Friends of Blind People's Association and The Classes of the Heart (to finance construction of two classrooms for disadvantaged children in Long Son school in Mui Ne Village). During the meal there will be a slide show presentation of the two projects, as well as live music by blind performers (Vietnamese traditional and modern western). Afterwards there will be an all-night dance party. 5,000VND will be donated to the cause for each drink ordered. Advanced tickets may be purchased at POGO, Joe's Art Cafe, Jibe's, Lap Thao Restaurant, Phat Burger and Chasseur Blanc. Pogo is located at 138 Nguyen Dinh Chieu in the center of the beach.
01.08.09. Ham Tien Police are circulating a picture today (right) of a man caught on surveilence cameras, who is believe to be part of a gang of thiefs targeting tourists in resorts around Mui Ne. The group is thought to be comprised of 3-5 Vietnamese men, posing as guests in various resorts. They cary bolt cutters and invade rooms to steal personal valuables, as well as other items around the resort. The gang began their invasions about 10 days ago. Tourists are urged to keep their valuables with them at all times, or deposit them in a hotel safe. Also, please report any suspicious behaviour to the management of your hotel (not the staff).
08.06.09 According to local sources, six teens lept from the Le Hong Phong Bridge in downtown Phan Thiet this afternoon as part of a suicide pact. Apparently 3 of the six were killed right away. City residents crowded around the bridge and riverside for several hours during and after active recovery efforts. It apparently all occured in clear view. It's unknown if anyone even tried to stop the youths. The reasons for their jump are also unclear. Some have speculated failed university entrance exams or petty teenage heartbreak with boyfriends and girlfriends.
25.12.08 Wednesday night (Christmas Eve) eight local Vietnamese men attacked and killed another local man at Hollywood Nights, a nightclub in Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach) long known as a haven for prostitution and other illegal activity. In the process of the attack, another local man was reportedly injured and remains at home; expected to die from brain trauma. Witnesses say a foreign tourist was cut by a knife when he attempted to break up the fight. Although the attackers wielded at least one large knife during the fight, the man who died was apparently bludgeoned to death. According to locals, a second, unrelated fight broke out in Mui Ne Village the same evening, leaving another Vietnamese man dead with knife wounds.
While police had a strong presence in Phan Thiet on Christmas Eve, there was no visible presence in Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach) despite numerous parties with abundant alcohol, extending late into the night. Local police have been pre-occupied recently with an initiative to confiscate motorbikes from tourists driving without a Vietnam-issued license. Resorts and local businesses have also noted the burdensome, compulsive fundraising efforts of law enforcement, typical of holiday seasons. These activities appear to be a distraction from more pressing communities needs, like keeping the peace.
Unfortunately these deadly altercations are not the only incidents of violence this week. A series of skirmishes broke out at another local bar frequented by foreign tourists, after five drunken foreigners sexually assaulted several other expat women. In the largest fight, police were called but arrived an hour later and reportedly refused to intervene.
Abnormal Tides Destroy Fisherman's Homes
12.01.09 This weekend high waves with unusual tides have destroyed more than 20 fisherman's homes and are threatening more than 100 more in Phu Hai and Duc Long districts of Phan Thiet.
There were no casualties but hundreds of residents have been rendered homeless. Phan Thiet People's commitee said militrary forces and youth volunteers had been dispatched to reinforce damaged homes and stack sandbags to prevent further destruction. While a tragic hardship for the local community, the damage is unfortunately a regular occurance several times a year due to poor planning and low-quality home construction. Resorts in Mui Ne are still active and most relatively uneffected, but there has been some significant beach errosion, and beaches have strong currents with low water clarity.
12.11.08 The Binh Thuan Province Association of the Blind held a meeting today with local charities and sponsors to discuss plans to open a new Massage Center, staffed entirely by the blind, on the east end of Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach). The new center should open within the next two weeks, once the local government grants their business license.
The new center will be located at 56/1 Huynh Thuc Khang, next to the Canary Resort in Ham Tien (Mui Ne Beach). The land and building for the new center has been donated by the owners of Tuan Loan Hotel in Ham Tien. Nguyen Anh Chien, owner of Victor Tours (across from Full Moon Beach Resort) is providing free English training to assist the blind masseuses as they serve foreign tourist.
The Binh Thuan Association of the Blind currently has one massage center located at 32 Hai Thuong Lan Ong on the east side of the Ca Ty River, near the central market, in downtown Phan Thiet. The Association of the Blind Massage Centers are renowned for their professional service and low fees. Visit their website (Vietnamese language) at www.hoinguoimubinhthuan.org.
30.08.06 According to Vietnam Net Bridge, The Binh Thuan Province Seafood Department recently conducted a surprise inspection of local seafood processing plants. They found that 13% of samples taken at a variety of locations contained antibiotic residues. The most contaminated products were dried cuttlefish, fresh cuttlefish and frozen octopus. The offending plants may have their operation licenses revoked or face legal prosecution.
- According to the Saigon Times, a French guest and a Vietnamese staff member of Novotel Hotel in Phan Thiet were accidentally electrocuted in a freak accident last week. Our sincerest condolences and sympothies to the Hotel, staff and familes of the two men.
- According to Saigon Times, as many as 178 inmates of Thu Duc prison in Ham Tan (South of Phan Thiet), including four foreign prisoners, are set to be released for the 61st anniversary of National Day on September 2.
- Floods have killed as many as 8 local residents this month around the province, in seasonal flooding.
13.07.06 Nineteen Communist Party members from Binh Thuan province have been disciplined for failing to prevent and fight crime. Some of them even alegedly sheltered the notorious, local criminal gang known as "Apricot Hill". The gang's leader, Nguyen Thanh Guong ("Hai Chi"), was arrested in 2005 for a number of crimes, including murder, gambling and robbery.
More than 3,000 members of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 22 localities in the South have been disciplined in the first half of this year. The party currently has 3.1 million members.
Source: People's Daily Online
22.05.06 Forty-seven houses were swept away in two days of flooding at Phuoc Loc Ward last week. This is the second year in a row that flooding has destroyed numerous homes in the area. The local effects of dry and rainy season have been polarizing in the last decade, with extreme drought during the dry season and devastating erosion in the wet season.
11.02.05 Vietnamese fishermen rescued a Thai fisherman who survived floating at sea for three days. The Binh Thuan border-gate station management board in Ham Tan District handed over Lammun Khunphuan, to the Thailand consolate in Ho Chi Minh City on February 8. The owner of the Vietnamese boat which found him said his staff pulled the man from the sea on January 18, finding him in ragged clothes and clinging to life. Lammun Khunphuan was part of a 10-member crew of a shrimp-fishing boat that left Pak Phanang port in Song Khla province, Thailand on January 13. Reports differ on how he came to fall overboard.
22.01.06 Law enforcement and judicial agencies in Binh Thuan province officially apologized Friday to a family who were wrongfully imprisoned for several years. The provincial People’s Procuracy, the prosecutor’s office, People’s Court, and police jointly held a public meeting to express regret to Nguyen Thi Lam and her family: Nguyen Van Son, Nguyen Van Tien (sons), Nguyen Thi Tien (daughter), and Huynh Van Nen (son-in-law) , who were formerly accused of killing Nguyen Thi My at a cashew nut plantation in Tan Minh town, Ham Tan District in 1993. The agencies will soon negotiate with Lam and her family regarding the amount of financial compensation. They were each sentenced from five to 10 years in prison. The family appealed several times but it took a recent judicial review to completely clear their names.
23.12.05. All eight crew members of the Belize ship Ocean Star were rescued 38 nautical miles off Phu Quy Island, Binh Thuan province, on December 22. After receiving an SOS signal, the Joint Search and Rescue Centre No. 3 broadcast the information and coordinated with the coast guard to search for the vessel. The sailors were saved by the ship Sima Pride from Singapore. The crew was then transferred to the centre for repatriation.