Graffiti vandalism annoys Hanoi residents, foreigners blamed

By Ngoc Dinh   February 19, 2019 | 01:12 am PT
Walls and doors in Hanoi’s Tay Ho District are covered in graffiti much to residents’ chagrin, and the vandals seem to be foreigners.

The artists seem to have taken a fancy to houses especially on Au Co and Nghi Tam Streets.

They can be seen on concrete walls, metal fences, transformer boxes, and rolling shutter doors of both private houses and commercial buildings.

Rolling shutters are however the main target since their smooth surface is suitable for spray painting.

The electric boxes also have painted images on them. 

Transformers are prime targets for the graffiti vandals. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung

The vandalism has been occurring for several months now, according to local residents.

Chien, a motor garage owner at 451 Au Co street, discovered a grand green graffito on his shutter one morning before the Lunar New Year early this month. The door of his brother’s house nearby has had a black and purple graffito since last October.

Three adjacent doors have the graffiti on their doors. 

Three doors next to each other have graffiti. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung

"These pictures began to appear on this street around last summer," Chien said. "Almost every house having a rolling shutter had them."

One night when he arrived home late he saw a foreigner and a Vietnamese spraying on a door on his street, he said. Another time he spotted four foreigners vandalizing a neighbor’s house at night.

"They are usually painted at 1 or 2 in the morning. They usually wear masks, some also wear woolen beanie pulled down over the face."

Lien, a shop owner living at 399 Au Co Street, was unhappy with the graffiti on her house wall and shutter. Lien said her neighbors' CCTV camera shows that many of the painters are foreigners who come late at night.

"If they spray on the fences near where people usually put trash, at least it might make it more beautiful. But they spray on our house doors and walls; it is very dirty and ugly."

On Liens door and wall, graffiti paintings are painted without her notice. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung 

Lien's doors and walls are covered in graffiti to her annoyance. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung

Nearby, on Nghi Tam Street, hundreds of images cover a public wall that runs its length. Authorities recently painted them over, but new graffiti have appeared.

Before Lunar New Year last week the authorities attempted to erase some dirty pictures that had been painted on transformers and other public areas and kept watch but in vain, Hoang Xuan Sang, chairman of the Yen Phu Ward People's Committee in Tay Ho, said.

This office door also has a big graffiti on the roll-up door. 

This office door has a big graffiti. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung

The painters are mostly foreigners who carry out the act stealthily late at night, he told local media.

"We have told the police to deal with the problem and filed a report and now await directions from the Tay Ho District Department of Culture and Sports to find an effective and thorough solution."

Meanwhile, house owners continue to be hassled.

"We cannot do anything about it, since we cannot always guard the house," Chien said. "We just have to accept the situation."

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