Did that really happen? Vietnam's most bizarre stories in 2016

By VnExpress   December 22, 2016 | 11:00 am PT
Stories of a pregnant man, a mermaid and a lake of condoms took 'odd' to a new level.

Used condoms, tampons wash up in Hanoi lake


Benjamin James Park, a 34-year-old Australian who has been living in Vietnam for nine years, became a Facebook star in November after sharing photos of used condoms and tampons floating among other kinds of trash on the city's Linh Dam Lake. “It gave me the shivers,” he said. We feel you, Ben.

Southern hospital misdiagnoses male patient as pregnant

A hospital in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang somehow diagnosed a 60-year-old male patient as “pregnant” in July. The man went to the hospital with hand tremors. Doctors then ordered a blood test, and the result released to the patient was almost shocking: “Your pregnancy is normal.” The hospital then apologized, blaming their mistake on a computer glitch. Too bad -- this could have been a medical miracle.

Men disguised as flirty women to rob foreigners in Saigon


Police in Ho Chi Minh City in November arrested two robbers dressed as women to flirt with an Australian man and snatch his phone in the backpackers’ area. One of them walked alongside the foreigner, groped him and then took the phone from his pocket. The duo quickly fled on their motorbike, but they were caught by police soon later. The men, 29 and 41, admitted that they had used the same trick on many male tourists walking in the area. Reminder: Beauty can be a trap.

Virgins use plastic bag for safe sex, end up in hospital

Hanoi Kidney Hospital in September treated a young couple with bleeding genital injuries, reportedly after the man used a plastic bag as a condom during sex with his girlfriend. The college students told doctors that they did not want a pregnancy, but they were both shy and could not bring themselves to buying a condom. Like they say, you will never forget the first time.

Short-lived nudity ban sparks controversy


Vietnam’s culture ministry in May imposed a rule prohibiting models and beauty queens from taking nude photos and releasing them online. It also banned "offensive clothes that expose sensitive body parts." But after receiving strong opposition from critics, artists and even a cultural official who dismissed it as “a violation to personal freedom,” the nudity ban was lifted after just more than a month. Are you even reading this? We shouldn't have used that picture.

Hospitals cut wrong arm and leg

Time for another medical flop? In June, a 6-year-old boy came to a hospital in the central province of Nghe An to have metal implants removed from his right wrist. He came out with both wrists in bandage, because his surgeon had also cut open the left wrist. The following month at Hanoi’s leading hospital Viet Duc, a 37-year-old man paid $250 to have his left leg fixed. The surgeon, however, operated on his right leg. It must have been too late to ask the question: "Wait, your left or my left?"

Police tow woman to station as she refuses to leave car


A 36-year-old businesswoman was pulled over in the southern province of Dong Nai for running a red light one morning in September. She refused to get out and the police brought a tow truck to take both her and her SUV to a station. She was fined around $200 for multiple violations. For the record, she did pay the tow fee, so maybe it's just economics.

Mermaid rumor hooks social media users


A man in the central province of Quang Nam was fined VND5 million ($220) in January for posting on his website a picture of a woman that he claimed to be a mermaid. The story, which was shared and read by thousands, claimed that some fishermen had caught the 48-kilogram Ariel (who was sunbathing) and that they had turned down a $1 million offer from a Japanese man who wanted to buy her. Investigators looked into the case and found out that it all started with a bride wearing a mermaid costume for her wedding photoshoot. They did not say anything about her singing or Prince Eric.

Failing to write mom’s name, 6th grader sent back to first grade

A boy in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang was about to become a sixth grader in September. But after teachers found out he could not write his mother’s name, the school sent him back to his primary school and suggested that he start at first grade. His old school decided that repeating fifth grade was enough. The case prompted the province to review its education system, only to find out that at least 100 other primary school students really struggled with reading and writing, skills that they were supposed to master before turning 10. We don't have a joke for this one.

Related news:

Vietnam to remove contested nude ban for models

Plastic bag is the new condom? Vietnamese injured after strange safe sex practice

Sea of used condoms, tampons wash up in Hanoi lake

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