Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 ups the ante in ‘sidewalk reclamation’

A district leader has vowed to step down if this sidewalk-clearing campaign fails

Steel sheets fixed onto the sidewalk near an office building in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City are removed, February 20, 2017.

Parts of state-owned buildings were demolished and cars towed away on Monday as authorities of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City stiffened their fight against sidewalk encroachment.

A team of police and urban management officers was led by Doan Ngoc Hai, deputy chairman of District 1, on Monday to penalize illegal occupancy of downtown sidewalks.

At the crossroads of Nam Quoc Cang and Nguyen Trai, the officers forced the removal of steel sheets fixed onto a section of the sidewalk by a nearby office building operator, while confiscating billboards and advertisement panels that protrude from stores over the pedestrians’ path.

The authorities also booked six cars for being parked on the sidewalk, and towed away two others whose owners refused to cooperate.

A parking lot operator was also fined VND20 million (US$893) for putting nearly 100 motorbikes along the sidewalk.

Even state-owned buildings were not exempt from the crackdown, as the officers forcefully uprooted a flower bed outside District 1’s Center for Political Education on Nguyen Trai Street, apparently because the construction was taking up space from the sidewalk.

The elevated part of the sidewalk in front of the center was also ordered to be leveled to guarantee safety for pedestrians.

“District 1 will carry out this campaign thoroughly, and violations by public agencies will be the first to be penalized to set an example for the people to follow,” Hai stressed. “All are equal before the law and must be subject to the same penalties upon violation, be it a government agency or a common citizen.”

“I will resign if I fail to deliver on my promises,” Hai said. “Those are not empty words.”

A parking lot is fined VND20 million (US$893) for putting nearly 100 motorbikes along the sidewalk on Nam Quoc Cang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 20, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A car is towed away for being parked on the sidewalk of Nguyen Trai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 20, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An advertisement panel that protrudes from a restaurant on Nguyen Trai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City is removed, February 20, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A police officer (R) books a car for being parked on the sidewalk in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 20, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The flower bed outside District 1’s Center for Political Education is uprooted, February 20, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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