Vietnam: Cops to read riot act to New Year revellers

Traffic police will carry around copies of the Lao New Year regulations issued by the government to show to revellers who need a reminder about appropriate behaviour.

More than 100 senior traffic officials gathered at the Vientiane Police Office yesterday to discuss security plans for Lao New Year, with the official holiday to be celebrated from April 14-16.

Director of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Youttaphong Souvannasing, advised officials to show copies of the regulations to people out in the streets celebrating, saying that in previous years people had professed not to know the rules.

?Showing people the regulations in writing will mean they have no cause for complaint. This should be your mission while on duty over the New Year,? he said.

The meeting also reported that more than 600 traffic officials across Vientiane will be deployed on security detail over the holiday from April 13-17 and will be assigned to target locations in each district.

Officials also discussed specific aspects of the regulations, which ban various types of behaviour in the interests of safety. Drunk driving is not allowed, pick-up trucks may not carry around large containers of water, the throwing of plastic bags filled with water is not allowed, people may not dress in skimpy clothing nor throw fire crackers or anything that makes a sound like an explosion, and the streets must be kept open to traffic.

Lieutenant Colonel Yottaphong said officials will be on the lookout for any transgressors as they patrol the streets. Two roads in Vientiane in particular become blocked with traffic during the festivities, namely Samsenthai Road between Xiengyeun village and the Sihom traffic lights, and Sailom Road between Vientiane Upper Secondary School and the Sailom traffic lights. Other places also become extremely congested.

People dance and throw water in the middle of the road and stop their friends’ vehicles from passing, so that everything grinds to a halt.

The meeting also reported that last Lao New Year from April 12-17, there were 49 road accidents in Vientiane which killed eight people and injured another 78. A total of 207 accidents were reported nationwide over the holiday from April 13-16 in 2016, which left 23 people dead.

Officials ask for the public’s cooperation in complying with the regulations, to protect themselves and other people from unexpected and unnecessary dangers.

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