The odd stories of 2019

By Dang Khoa   December 24, 2019 | 01:44 pm GMT+7

A picnic on an expressway and a court clerk who was a fugitive from the law were among the bizarre occurrences of the year.

Picnic on expressway

A Facebook photo shows a family having a Tet meal on the Noi Bai - Lao Cai expressway.

A Facebook photo shows a family having a Tet meal on the Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway.

During the Lunar New Year holiday in February, a family left netizens cold by livestreaming their meal on the shoulder of an expressway in northern Vietnam.

On his Facebook account, Ho Chi Viet posted pictures and a livestream video of his family enjoying their unusual picnic on the Noi Bai - Lao Cai expressway with traditional holiday sticky rice cakes and other dishes from their hamper.

Many condemned it, calling it "death-defying" since there were likely to be more drunk drivers on the road during the holiday.

As expressway shoulders are only meant for vehicles to pull over in an emergency and for vehicles with priority, Viet was fined VND5.5 million ($237) and his license was suspended for two months.

That's one way to have a memorable family meal.

Pigeon joined cycling competition

Live footage captured a pigeon that had decided to join a group of bikers competing in a cycling competition in central Vietnam in April.

The pigeon weaved in and out between them, seemingly focused on getting ahead, before flying off after three kilometers.

A commentator said the bird appeared out of nowhere and athletes seemed to be encouraged by it presence.

Caught with his pants down

A man was caught masturbating on a Hanoi bus in June by a woman passenger sitting nearby.

Police deemed the 26-year-old man’s act as "disturbing public order" and said it was his second violation.

Netizens were outraged this revolting behavior was let off with a VND200,000 ($8.6) fine.

There was an earlier instance of a 38-year-old man being caught in a Hanoi bus touching his genitals and masturbating near a high school girl. He too was handed over to the police, but there has been no information about the action taken against him.

Daylight rubbery: knockoff condoms ring busted

A police photo shows fake condoms to be packaged as popular brands at a facility in Ho Chi Minh City.

A police photo shows fake condoms to be packaged as popular brands at a facility in Ho Chi Minh City.

Also in June Saigon authorities raided a factory that was making and selling fake condoms and lubricants under well-known brand names like Durex, OK or Sure.

Truong Chi Thanh, the head of the operation, told the police he was selling the fakes, which were not sterilized, to many provinces and cities in Vietnam.

The police found over 120,000 condoms and lubricants and more than 60 kg of raw materials at his house in Saigon's District 12.

Vietnamese use 500-600 million condoms every year. They can't always be sure what they are getting into.

Fugitive hiding as court clerk for 26 years

It's a perfect story of keeping your enemies close.

Nguyen Quang Huy, 46, was a fugitive who became a court clerk after years of laying low.

Police in Hoa Binh Province arrested the Cao Phong District People's Court secretariat chief and trial clerk in December for a crime he committed 26 years ago.

Huy and four others had sabotaged a hydropower project building in 1993. While his accomplices were tried for demolition of buildings affecting national security, Huy managed to escape.

He was admitted to the Communist Party in 1999 and became a court official in 2000.

His identity was only discovered when authorities were vetting the identity of his younger sister, who works for the police department in Hanoi.

His wife of 14 years said even she did not know her husband was a wanted man.

Half an HIV test

Still of a video footage acquired by VnExpress shows an employee of Hanois Saint Paul Hospital cutting an HIV test strip in half.

Still of a video footage acquired by VnExpress shows an employee of Hanoi's Saint Paul Hospital cutting an HIV test strip in half.

Some technicians at Saint Paul’s Hospital in Hanoi decided that half was more than enough.

They had cut at least 40 quick HIV test strips to perform examinations on 80 people between September and November, and somehow produced 1,272 test results.

The misconduct was only made public last month.

Doctors said test strips do not guarantee accurate results if they are cut and at least dozens of people in Vietnam will be rushing to retake the test soon.

Tattoos for lost boy

Not all odd stories are funny. This one could make you cry.

Hoang Cong Vinh has his name and home address tattooed on the right arm and his parents phone numbers on the left. Photos by VnExpress/Duc Thanh.

Hoang Cong Vinh has his name and home address tattooed on the right arm and his parents' phone numbers on the left. Photos by VnExpress/Duc Thanh.

In the northern province of Nam Dinh, a couple have resorted to tattoos to ensure their 15-year-old son with developmental disability, Hoang Cong Vinh, does not get lost.

They got his name and home address and their telephone numbers tattooed in font on his arms in September after he kept wandering away from home.

When Hoang Cong Vien, the father, was at work one day, he received a call from his wife saying their son was missing. Fortunately, one of their neighbors found Vinh wandering on a street two kilometers away and brought him home.

The next day Vien took him to Hanoi for a medical examination. But Vinh disappeared again when his father was in the queue to register.

After he found his son, he spoke with his wife about tattooing the information on the boy's arms.

He said: "We almost lost him two days in a row. Anyone who has experienced that feeling will understand how worried I am. We are heartbroken at having to do such a thing."

 
 
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