Da Nang’s special '911 Police Force' is stepping up to ensure the city’s residents are following government-mandated restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Vietnam’s COVID-19 epicenter, Da Nang City, is calling on its special police unit to help ensure order throughout its social distancing period.
The 911 Police Force was established in December 2018 with the aim of maintaining public order in the central resort city.
According to Vu Xuan Vien, director of the Da Nang Police Department, the 911 Police Force is the pride of municipal authorities in the face of criminal activities.
“We work for the people. We keep them safe,” said Vien. “Our police discourage criminals and keep them on a tight leash.”
Though the streets in Da Nang have been relatively empty over the past few weeks, the C1 unit of the 911 Police Force officers have been busy patrolling the city by night, ready to impose penalties on those caught breaking social distancing regulations.
Each officer in the 911 Unit is equipped with a walkie-talkie, flashlight, face masks, and hand sanitizer, said Captain Huynh Cong Anh, head of the unit.
|The night patrol team pull over offenders on a street in Da Nang. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre|
Earlier this month the unit was patrolling Pham Nhu Duong Street in Lien Chieu District when a voice over the walkie-talkie called in a violation.
“Suspect in white T-shirt on an Airblade motorbike,” the voice said.
The unit fired up its motorcycle engines and tracked down the suspect.
“We are the 911 Police Force of Da Nang City,” Captain Anh declared as the unit approached the suspect. “Please dismount your bike and show us your documents.”
Though the suspect was pulled over for not wearing a helmet, a violation of Vietnam’s motorcycle laws, Captain Anh let him off with a friendly warning.
“Please remember to wear your helmet next time,” he said. “And remember: it’s social distancing time. Please try and stay off the street.”
|Drug users are escorted to a local police station with the help of the 911 police unit in Da Nang. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre|
An hour later, on Hoang Thi Loan Street, two other suspects were caught running a red light.
Despite a loudspeaker call from the C1 unit, the two suspects made a U-turn and tried to flee the scene.
A short chase followed but the unit quickly caught up to the suspects and forced them to the side of the road.
The motorbike driver was N.A.A., a 19-year-old from Thanh Khe District. Neither he nor his passenger was wearing helmets. The two were also unable to produce personal identity cards or driver’s licenses.
The young man tried to explain to the officers that “I was going to get some stuff at my friend’s place. We stopped doing it a long time ago.”
Police officers immediately realized he was talking about drugs and escorted the two down to the station for drug tests. Both tested positive for narcotics.
The night patrol unit then moved on to a residential area near the railroad tracks where they spotted two men driving an SH motorbike.
The passenger aboard the bike was N.D.V., a 28-year-old man from Lien Chieu District.
“I’m heading home from a restaurant,” he said. “We didn’t do anything.”
But N.D.V.’s glazed eyes told a different story and police took him down to the station for a drug test where results showed he had previously consumed marijuana.
|N.D.V., a 28-year-old man in Lien Chieu District, Da Nang, is found to be in possession of weed after an inspection by the city’s 911 Police Force. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre|
The C1 unit is made up of experienced officers who have trained in different fields, including narcotics, road crimes, criminal investigation and rapid response.
Since Da Nang’s enhanced social distancing measures came into full effect in late July, the unit has been involved with a series of busts, including a cyber café that hosted a group of eleven gamers for nearly an entire day and several drug abusers under the influence of methamphetamines.
|A 911 Police Force captain checks in on his own family after being on the job for several hours in Da Nang. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Team members of the 911 Police Force in Da Nang adhere to hand sanitization rules during their work shift. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre|