Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery, the largest burial ground in Ho Chi Minh City, has turned into a disturbing haven for drug users, raising concerns among residents and prompting calls for authorities to address the issue.
A recent investigation by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper revealed a scene of syringes scattered throughout the cemetery, often embedded in trees or discarded near graves.
The grim discovery unfolded a few hundred meters away from the headquarters of the People’s Committee and police station of Binh Hung Hoa A Ward in Binh Tan District, highlighting the proximity of the problem to local authorities.
Fear and anxiety have gripped residents, with one expressing her apprehension about visiting the cemetery due to the prevalence of drug users.
A cemetery worker echoed the woman's concerns, sharing his own encounters with drug users and the constant threat posed by discarded syringes.
"I wear heavy-duty boots, but I still step lightly because I am afraid of needles with blood on them," the worker recounted.
"I always tell visitors who want to visit tombs to call when they're here so I can take them in safely."
|A man holds a syringe while hiding behind a tomb at Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery, the largest in Ho Chi Minh City, on November 28, 2023. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre
Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery spans 40.69 hectares.
In 2010, the municipal administration released a plan to relocate the cemetery and repurpose the site as a service and trade area.
However, Binh Tan authorities opposed the plan, noting that there were already many service and trade centers surrounding the cemetery.
Instead, they suggested using the land for educational activities.
The municipal Department of Planning and Architecture endorsed the proposal and suggested that the municipal Party Committee approve it.
Despite launching in 2014, the ambitious project to relocate Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery has moved only 60 percent of its tombs as of earlier this year.
The sheer volume of tombs at the site presents a significant challenge to the project's completion.
|Two men stop on a path in at Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery before taking out a syringe of heroin to shoot up on December 4, 2023. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre
|A man uses drugs on a path at the cemetery on December 4, 2023. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre
|A man injects narcotics into his bloodstream at Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre
|Used needles and syringes are left next to a tomb at Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre
|Many used syringes are thrown into bushes. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre
|Used needles are stuck into a tree. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre
|Used needles and syringes inside Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre
|A view of Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre