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Ho Chi Minh City ‘sidewalk captain’ Doan Ngoc Hai leaves job at state-owned company

Friday, December 13, 2019, 15:09 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City ‘sidewalk captain’ Doan Ngoc Hai leaves job at state-owned company
Doan Ngoc Hai during his ‘sidewalk reclamation’ effort in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in 2017. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘Captain Sidewalk’, Doan Ngoc Hai, has officially been relieved of his position at a local construction corporation, six months after handing in a letter of resignation.

An official from state-run Saigon Construction Corporation (SGCC) confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday that the company had officially dismissed Doan Ngoc Hai, a previous vice-chairman of the city’s District 1 administration.

The municipal People’s Committee named Hai as SGCC’s deputy general director on June 4, but just hours after the appointment he presented officials with a letter of resignation declaring that he lacked the appropriate qualifications needed for the job and that the role would be in opposition to his “personal aspirations.”

On September 5, the city’s administration announced its decision to relieve Hai from the deputy general director role, but asked that he remain an employee at SGCC.

Hai then spent the next three months requesting to leave the company until his resignation was officially approved by the firm’s leaders on December 6.

The announcement that Doan Ngoc Hai (L) would be transferred to Saigon Construction Corporation was announced by Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen at a ceremony on June 4, 2019. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The announcement that Doan Ngoc Hai (L) would be transferred to Saigon Construction Corporation was made by Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen at a ceremony on June 4, 2019. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Doan Ngoc Hai became a household name in January 2017, when he launched a ‘sidewalk reclamation’ campaign in District 1 which consisted of forcibly removing anything blocking the district’s footpaths.

He tendered his resignation from the vice-chairman position about a year later, citing the failure of his campaign. 

He then retracted the resignation in May 2018. 

Hai remained the vice-chairman of District 1, where he attempted to crack down on stray dogs and illegal fishing in Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal.

At age 50, Hai still has another ten years before he can officially retire, according to Vietnamese law.

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen said any resignation by an official at Hai’s level would be approved by the municipal Party Committee.

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