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Nearly 90% of sidewalk-blocking beer bars in Hanoi backed by police: chairman

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 18:03 GMT+7

About 87 percent of sidewalk beer bars in Hanoi, whose operations often occupy the pavements, are covertly abetted by local police officers, hindering ongoing efforts to reclaim the public space, the city’s chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has asserted.

Previous attempts to clear local promenades ended up in vain as local businesses kept repeating their illegal occupancy of the public areas, Chung said at a conference on Saturday morning.

The ‘sidewalk reclamation’ campaign was initiated by the city’s Party Committee late 2014, but previous efforts did not prove effective as local police units have not imposed strict enforcement on those facilities that violated the law, according to the chairman.

“I have conducted a probe and discovered that more than 150 out of 180 beer bars in Hanoi are abetted by local policemen,” he asserted.

If the problem persists, the ‘sidewalk clearing’ effort will eventually fail, Chung underlined.

He ordered local authorities to be responsible and serious in dealing with the encroachment of pavements.

“I will name and shame those corrupted officers and officials in each ward and district if they are not serious in their job this time,” he continued.

The law enforcement officers in charge must be assertive in their duty, the chairman said, adding that those who keep failing to enforce the law should be dismissed or transferred to another position.

Chung also requested leaders of local authorities to set examples for citizens, and encourage their family members to comply with the regulation and respect sidewalk space.

The city’s leader considered the lack of attention from competent authorities another reason for the ineffective attempts.

Following specific steps

According to the Hanoi chairman, local authorities must deal with the issue in a persistent manner.

“Three specific steps must also be followed,” Chung stated.

The first phase, he elaborated, involved propaganda and reminders for citizens not to let their business activities compromised the promenades.

In the second stage, regular inspections should be carried out and warnings shall be issued for potential violations, he continued, adding that local businesses will be given a few days to re-organize their operations.

After the designated period, officers will begin the final step with suitable punishments imposed on offenders.

Chung tasked the municipal Department of Police with dispatching enforcement units to reclaim the footpaths at each neighborhood.

Regarding the penalty, those businesses that violate the rule three times shall have their business license revoked and be banned from operating.

The illegal occupancy of sidewalks must be stopped as it has negative effects on traffic safety, the urban aesthetics, and environmental hygiene, chairman Chung asserted.

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