While authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have imposed curfew on local bars and internet cafés, the rule seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Though regulations dictate that bars and clubs must shut down by midnight, and Internet cafes are not permitted to operate after 10:00pm, it seems curfews in Ho Chi Minh City are not proving quite as affective as some might hope.
Local residents and foreign tourists wishing to continue their parties well into the night often clash with such curfew regulations.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, at 1:30 am on October 19, the OXC Disco, located in District 1, was still bustling, with long lines of motorbikes parked along the entrance and party goers showing their wild sides on the dance floor.
“We stay open until the morning. Just enjoy your time here until you cannot handle another drink,” a waiter told our correspondents when the clock struck two.
At CCC Bar, also situated in the downtown area, hundreds of local and foreign customers were still gathered around beer towers and hookahs after midnight.
“We only close when the very last customer leaves. Sometimes the bar is still filled with people, even at three in the morning,” a waiter said.
Just a few kilometers away, about 20 young men were still fixing their eyes on the computer screens at an Internet café on Le Van Si Street in District 3, failing to notice that it was already 1:00 am.
“For only VND30,000 [US$1.33], you can play games from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am,” an employee advertised.
After arriving at another Internet café in Phu Nhuan District at 3:00 am, the reporters were required to show their ID in order for accounts to be opened at the Internet café, a necessity to use the service.
Using a computer at the café from 3:15 am to 6:00 am costs VND20,000 ($0.88).
The best solution?
According to Pham Van Dung, deputy chief inspector of the municipal Department of Culture and Sports, it is common for local bars to operate after the curfew.
About 17 administrative penalties have been imposed on facilities still open after regulated hours during the first six months of 2016, Dung said, adding that more inspections are expected to be carried out in the near future.
About 31 Internet cafés were also fined for failing to comply with the curfew during the same period, said Nguyen Duc Tho, chief inspector of the city’s Department of Information and Communications.
Several operators tried to dodge their penalties by claiming they were not charging customers, or that their customers were actually relatives, Tho added.
Local legal experts believe that the curfew is not needed.
According to Vu Quang Duc, a law practitioner, implementing a rule that no one follows only leads to neglect of other laws.
There should be more regular inspections of the facilities and sterner punishments for violators if local authorities want to keep these regulations, Duc stated.
The lawyer stated that local bars should not be inhibited from providing their services after midnight.
Experts recommended that some areas, such as Bui Vien Street, be exclusively designed for late operation in order to meet the demand of local citizens and foreign visitors.
However, competent authorities should ask for the consent local residents and increase taxes on such facilities.