People who drew graffiti on two out of the 51 metro cars of Ho Chi Minh City’s metro line No. 1, which are located at Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City, may face criminal charges for destroying or intentionally damaging properties, according to legal experts.
According to lawyer Le Van Hoan from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, the graffiti affected the images of these railcars.
If losses from the damage are calculated at VND2 million (US$86) or more, the violators will face criminal charges for destroying or deliberately damaging properties in accordance with Article 178 of the Penal Code, with the heaviest punishment being a 20-year jail term.
Additionally, the offenders may be fined up to VND100 million ($4,300) each.
The punishment shall still be applicable even when the losses are below VND2 million ($86) if the offense causes a negative impact on social security, order, and safety.
If the offense is proved to be aimed at opposing the people’s government, the offenders may be charged with sabotaging facilities of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, pursuant to Article 114, or destroying works, facilities or vehicles important to national security, as per Article 303 of the Penal Code.
Even if the offenders are not subject to criminal proceedings, administrative sanctions, specifically a fine of VND5 million ($215), will be imposed in accordance with Article 15 of Decree 144/2021 on administrative penalties for violations of social order and security.
According to lawyer Tran Minh Hung from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, those smearing railcars or public works, depending on the nature and severity, may be subject to an administrative or criminal punishment.
However, he emphasized that the nature of smearing railcars with paint and graffiti should be considered carefully as the offenders may not be aware of the seriousness of the act.
Maybe, they just did it for beauty, and did not intend to make a statement, or deliberately destroy assets of any individuals or organizations.
If there are signboards banning graffiti in the areas of metro cars, on walls and in public places, but people still purposely spray them with paint and graffiti, criminal charges should be filed against them.
The agencies whose assets are damaged may require the offenders to make compensation as prescribed in Article 584 of the 2015 Civil Code.
Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line project, linking Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City, has 17 trains with each train including three cars. Each train can accommodate 930 passengers.
As the metro line has yet to be completed, these trains are being located at Long Binh Depot in Thu Duc City.