Sidewalk hooks trap foreign visitor in downtown Saigon

By Duy Tran   April 7, 2017 | 09:33 pm PT
The hooks were installed under a project to light up the city at night, but have turned out to be a hurdle at day.

A foreign woman hit her face on the ground in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City downtown earlier this week as she tripped over a hook attached to the sidewalk.

The middle-aged woman was with a group of foreigners who were about to cross the street at the Le Loi - Nam Ky Khoi Nghia junction in District 1 when the accident happened Tuesday afternoon.

Two hooks are seen on the sidewalks of District 1. Photo by VnExpress

Two hooks are seen on the sidewalks of District 1. Photo by VnExpress

Local residents said the two hooks, each 7 centimeters (0.2 feet) high, have caused many to fall.

District 1 authorities confirmed Friday that the hooks were installed by a Vietnamese company for light shows during holidays.

They have requested the firm to make a public apology, compensate the injured woman and clear all the hooks from local sidewalks by April 15.

The district authorities started their sidewalk campaign in early February, putting up barriers and dispatching police to stop motorbikes from driving on pavements. Many cars have been towed for illegal parking and constructions destroyed when found taking up walking space.

The project has been widely applauded by locals; but it has also raised concerns for being extreme.

Street vendors across District 1 are possibly the unhappiest. Some baguette vendors were seen crying and yelling when the police seized their shops on wheels, while others have scaled down from a pushcart to a basket so they can run easily.

Vice Chairman Doan Ngoc Hai of District 1 said the campaign aims at reclaiming public space, turning the city's central area into “Little Singapore.”

“I won’t hesitate to get into conflicts,” Hai has said, adding that he will retire if the campaign fails.

Similar actions have been taken by other districts in Ho Chi Minh City and also spread to major cities in Vietnam.

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