Saigon bar raid nets hundreds of drug users

By Quoc Thang   July 24, 2019 | 05:12 am PT
Over 200 patrons tested positive for banned substances at a Saigon bar following a Wednesday raid, local police say.

Hundreds of police officers raided the 030-X8 bar in Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1 and found over 300 people inside with signs of drug abuse.

Some tried to throw their drugs away and flee the bar, but they were stopped and taken to the police station for tests.

Many packets of drugs, including ecstasy, were found on the dance floor. Several employees of the bar are also suspected of having had ecstasy in their possession.

Several people from the 030-X8 bar in Saigon are taken to the police station July 24, 2019. Photo by VnExpress.

Customers of the 030-X8 bar in Saigon at a city police station on July 24, 2019. Photo by VnExpress.

The use of synthetic drugs has been on the rise among partying youth in Vietnam, multiple reports have noted. Last September, seven people died of suspected drug overdose at a music concert in Hanoi.

23,500 known drug users were recorded by Saigon authorities as of last year, a 7 percent increase from 2017.

The city has become an increasingly used transit point for drugs, because of its well connected road, marine and air transport services, said Phan Anh Minh, deputy director of the HCMC Police department.

Vietnamese authorities deal with around 20,000 cases involving drugs every year and arrest around 30,000 people. The country has some 250,000 registered addicts, but the actual figures are thought to be much higher.

Drug addiction has long been considered a "social evil" in the country, and a controversial policy of forced abstinence and re-education has been adopted to deal with it.

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