Nha Trang chairman says sorry for wrongful motorbike seizure

By Xuan Ngoc   July 20, 2021 | 05:26 am PT
Nha Trang chairman says sorry for wrongful motorbike seizure
A video still which circulated online shows Tran Van Em (R) having his motorbike and papers seized while on a trip to buy bread in Nha Trang as authorities claimed buying bread didn't count as "essential" activity.
Nha Trang Chairman Nguyen Sy Khanh Tuesday apologized to a man whose motorbike was seized because his purchase of bread during the social distancing period was deemed “non-essential” activity.

A letter of apology was sent to Tran Van Em, a construction worker who had his motorbike and papers seized Sunday for going out to buy bread, which ward authorities claimed was a "non-essential" activity that violated the Covid-19 social distancing order imposed on the central beach town.

The claim was made by Tran Le Huu Tho, deputy chairman of Vinh Hoa Ward because he did not fully understand Nha Trang’s social distancing order, Khanh said.

Khanh also acknowledged that Tho’s conduct and communication with Em was improper.

As Nha Trang’s chairman, Khanh apologized for the incident and said he would take responsibility.

A video showing Em being blocked by officials while riding his motorbike on a road was captured in a video that went viral online. Em later explained that he was going to buy bread.

Tho then claimed that buying bread was "not essential" and he would seize Em's papers and motorbike. Amid a heated exchange, Tho used derogatory language and even threatened that he would have Em arrested.

The video was later confirmed by Nguyen Thi Ha, head of the People's Committee of Vinh Hoa Ward, saying Tho had recorded the exchange as evidence, but the footage was leaked online.

After the incident went viral, Em was initially dismissed by the construction site that employed him, but rehired Tuesday morning. He got his papers and motorbike back on Monday.

The Khanh Hoa Party Committee has asked the Nha Trang administration to investigate the incident further and duly punish Tho's transgressions.

The popular beach town of Nha Trang began a two-week social distancing campaign starting July 9. Residents were told to stay home and only allowed to go out for "essential" tasks, including buying food, medicines and other emergencies.

So far, the town has accounted for 170 Covid-19 cases out of the total of 688 recorded in Khanh Hoa Province under the fourth coronavirus wave that struck Vietnam late April.

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