Vietnamese men face sobering charges after drunken reservoir blunder

By An Phuoc   March 22, 2017 | 02:22 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese men face sobering charges after drunken reservoir blunder
A floodgate at Suoi Vac Reservoir in Phu Yen Province. Photo by VnExpress
The three men released enough water to fill 800 Olympic swimming pools.

Police have launched a criminal investigation against three Vietnamese men for releasing water from a reservoir that flooded two central region communes when they were drunk, a police official said.

The men have been detained for questioning and face charges of “unintentionally causing serious damage to property”, which is punishable by up to two years in jail, Son Hoa District's police chief in Phu Yen Province said. 

An initial investigation found that the men had been drinking heavily near Suoi Vuc Reservoir around midnight on March 14 before one of them, a 26-year-old resident, went to the toilet and flipped a switch he thought was for lights.

The switch actually controlled the reservoir's sluice gates. The three fled the scene when water started flowing fiercely. The province is some 400km (250 miles) south of the central city of Da Nang.

By the next morning, some 2 million cubic meters of water, enough to fill about 800 Olympic swimming pools, had submerged fields and swept away 15 tons of harvested sugarcane, causing damage estimated at VND300 million ($13,200) in two communes.

Four guards at the reservoir failed to spot the intruders as they were at another station 800 meters away.

The reservoir was built to hold around 10.5 million cubic meters. It went into operation in late 2015, providing water for local households and 790 hectares (1,952 acres) of rice and sugarcane fields.

Vietnam’s Penal Code states that those who unintentionally cause damage to other people’s property valued between VND100-500 million are subject to non-custodial education for up to two years, or a prison term of between three months and two years.

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