Hanoi police detain music fest organizer after drug deaths

By Viet Dung   September 22, 2018 | 03:45 pm GMT+7

Hanoi police investigating the drug overdose deaths of seven people at a music fest have detained its main organizer.

Le Thai Son, 26, director of Vietnamese event planning firm A Chau, which organized the Vietnam Electronic Weekend (VEW) Festival at the West Lake Water Park in Tay Ho District on September 16, is jointly liable for its consequences, including the deaths of seven festival goers, police have said.

Son will be investigated for “violation of regulations on labor safety, labor sanitation and safety in crowded places,” a crime punished by up to 12 years in jail under Vietnam’s Criminal Code. 

A police officer reads the decision to arrest Le Thai Son (R), director of the company organizing the music festival where seven people died of suspected drug overdose on September 16. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong

A police officer reads the decision to arrest Le Thai Son (R), director of the company organizing the music festival where seven people died of suspected drug overdose on September 16. Photo courtesy of Tien Phong

On Thursday, police also arrested Bui Manh Duy, 19, for “inducing other people into illegal use of narcotics,” which faces up to life imprisonment in Vietnam.

Duy is said to have lured 15 people to buy 10 pills of ecstasy and marijuana at the festival. His friends were those suffering from overdose at the event.

Seven people died and five others were admitted to hospitals after overdosing on drugs during the festival.

All 12 people, between 18 and 29 years old, tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine, ecstasy, and marijuana.

At the scene of the festival, police found balloons containing nitrous oxide and unidentified pills.

Witnesses said security was lax at the festival, that there were not enough security guards and the nitrous oxide balloons were sold publicly at the venue.

Following the deaths, Hanoi has announced the suspension of all music festivals until further notice.

The city police are also considering charges of “harboring illegal use of narcotics” for the case. The crime faces up to 15 years in jail in Vietnam.

A Chau had collaborated with the West Lake Water Park to prepare for the festival, dubbed the biggest electronic music event ever in Vietnam, which drew around 5,000 fans.

Its director Son had said in the week that the crowd at the festival made it difficult for personnel to find out where the overdosed participants were, to help them.

“We organizers have done our job in maintaining security and order during the festival. Despite that, some participants brought in narcotics and other stimulants,” he said.

Hanoi’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which authorized the music festival in the first place, said all procedures necessary to authorize the event were processed in accordance with the law.

The West Lake Water Park’s managing board has yet to comment on the incident.

 
 
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