Drug users, sex workers arrested in downtown Saigon restaurant

By Quoc Thang   August 17, 2018 | 03:57 am PT
In a predawn raid on a downtown restaurant, Saigon police arrested dozens of drug users and sex workers.

The city police officers blockaded a section of Thai Van Lung Street in District 1 in the early hours on Friday before breaking into Queen Restaurant, one of the most popular night hangouts in the city.

They say they found waitresses in skimpy clothing flirting with drunken male customers and offering sexual services.

Around 20 female employees were able to escape the clutches of the inspection team, police said.

The suspected drug users and waitresses were taken to the police station for drug tests.

A group of officers also raided a hotel on Le Lai Street in the tourist district and caught two female staff of the restaurant offering sex services to clients.

The women told the police that the restaurant manager had sent them to the hotel to serve drunk customers who were charged up to VND5 million ($215) “per session.” The manager received VND1-2 million each session, they said.

Nguyen Ngoc Huy Hoang, 39, was arrested on charges of arranging illegal sex services for customers.

The restaurant manager is held at police station for arranging sex services. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang

Restaurant manager Nguyen Ngoc Huy Hoang is alleged to have brokered sexual services for customers. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang

Friday’s raid was part of an ongoing campaign to tighten controls over “sensitive” business services offered by many restaurant and bars, particularly in the tourist area.

According to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, Saigon has nearly 22,000 registered drug users, the highest in the country at nearly 10 percent of the total number.

Drug use is banned in Vietnam, and producing and dealing in drugs are criminal offenses.

Official data estimates there are 3,000 sex workers in Saigon.

Female sex workers are among the three most vulnerable groups, alongside drug users and male homosexuals, to HIV/AIDS.

There are around 250,000 people with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.

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