Find out why ivory, cigarettes and a dead whale made it into our list

The coun­try in num­bers

Oi Vietnam - - Contents -

700kg WHALE WASHES ASHORE IN CEN­TRAL

Viet­nam. Hun­dreds of lo­cal res­i­dents from a tiny coastal vil­lage in the cen­tral prov­ince of Quang Ngai held a re­spect­ful burial cer­e­mony for the large whale they had found on the beach. The whale, mea­sur­ing more than 4m in length, was in crit­i­cal con­di­tion and had sus­tained mul­ti­ple in­juries when fish­er­men dis­cov­ered it. The vil­lagers at­tempted to bring the whale, con­sid­ered a ‘sacred an­i­mal’ by lo­cals, back to the ocean, but their at­tempts were un­suc­cess­ful. Af­ter the whale had passed, they took the whale to a spe­cial area zoned for the burial. As per lo­cal cus­tom, three years af­ter its burial, the skele­ton of the whale will be taken to a shrine, which fish­er­men will visit be­fore they go to sea, in the hope that it will pro­tect them against mis­for­tune on the wa­ter.

4kg OF IVORY AND 3 SETS

of leop­ard skin, amongst other an­i­mal parts, were con­fis­cated at Ton Son Nhat In­ter­na­tional Air­port from the lug­gage of a fe­male pas­sen­ger. All items were from en­dan­gered an­i­mals listed on the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species, ac­cord­ing to air­port cus­toms. The con­fis­cated parts in­cluded 4kgs of sliced ivory pieces, nine ele­phant tails, a range of claws and three sets of African leop­ard skin, es­ti­mated to be worth a to­tal of over VND2 bil­lion on the black mar­ket. They were found stashed in the lug­gage of a 62-year-old Viet­namese wo­man who had trav­eled from Africa. The traf­ficked items have been seized as ev­i­dence while the wo­man is de­tained for fur­ther ques­tion­ing.

USD 1.38 bil­lion IS SPENT ON CIGARETTES

an­nu­ally by Viet­namese, ac­cord­ing to statis­tics re­leased by Viet­nam’s Min­istry of Health. A fur­ther VND23 tril­lion a year is spent on the cost of treat­ment for five groups of dis­eases closely linked to smok­ing, as well as eco­nomic losses due to pre­ma­ture death and loss of la­bor caused by these dis­eases, the min­istry said. At Viet­nam Na­tional Can­cer Hospi­tal (K Hospi­tal) in Hanoi, 97 per­cent of lung can­cer pa­tients are reg­u­lar smok­ers. Viet­namese laws pro­hibit smok­ing in cov­ered pub­lic ar­eas, train sta­tions and air­ports, though the reg­u­la­tion is of­ten ne­glected and violators are rarely fined. The coun­try also strictly for­bids the ad­ver­tis­ing and sale pro­mo­tion of cigarettes, and re­quires cig­a­rette com­pa­nies to print graphic im­ages il­lus­trat­ing the harm­ful ef­fects of smok­ing on their pack­ages.

~20,000

CAN­CER PILLS DO­NATED TO A

Ho Chi Minh City hospi­tal have ended up in the bin as it took nine months to com­plete all the pro­ce­dures needed to re­ceive the medicines. In mid-July 2013, No­vatis Pharma AG, a sub­sidiary of Swiss health­care firm No­vatis, sent a let­ter to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospi­tal of He­ma­tol­ogy and Blood Trans­fu­sion, of­fer­ing to give the clinic 304 boxes of Tasigna, con­sist­ing of a to­tal of 34,608 pills.

The pricey Tasigna drug is used for pa­tients of chronic myel­oge­nous leukemia, an un­com­mon type of blood can­cer. How­ever, the do­nated pills would not ar­rive in Ho Chi Minh City un­til the drugs were only ten months away from ex­pi­ra­tion.

Con­se­quently, the Ho Chi Minh City hospi­tal could man­age to use only 14,611 of the do­nated pills, with the re­main­ing 19,997 tablets de­stroyed as they all had ex­pired. The re­cip­i­ent, Hospi­tal of He­ma­tol­ogy and Blood Trans­fu­sion, alone wasted 4.5 months, as it knew of the do­na­tion in midJuly 2013 but only sought per­mis­sion to re­ceive the do­na­tion in late Novem­ber the same year.

27-year-old VIET­NAMESE MAN SWIN­DLED

mul­ti­ple firms by im­per­son­at­ing lead­ers’ voices. Phuong had de­frauded busi­ness own­ers through­out the coun­try out huge amounts of money by call­ing com­pa­nies and im­per­son­at­ing lo­cal lead­ers ask­ing to bor­row money.

Phuong, who has a pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for steal­ing as­sets, was nabbed while at­tempt­ing to swindle a VND300 mil­lion SH scooter in the south­ern prov­ince of Long An. A C50 of­fi­cer said even po­lice were stunned by the voice im­pres­sion­ist’s tal­ent for mim­ick­ing the voice of al­most any­one, young or old, af­ter only hear­ing their voice once. Phuong used the voices of lo­cal lead­ers, celebri­ties, and re­li­gious lead­ers to tar­get com­pa­nies he knew al­ready had busi­ness or per­sonal re­la­tions with those fig­ures In the fraud­u­lent phone calls, Phuong would tell the busi­ness own­ers that he was away on a busi­ness trip and one of his rel­a­tives had an ac­ci­dent and needed a huge amount of money.

1,500 ‘TOXIC’ YOUTUBE VIDEOS WERE

blocked by Google at Viet­nam’s re­quest. The ‘cleanup’ came more than a month af­ter the Author­ity of Broad­cast­ing and Elec­tric In­for­ma­tion un­der Viet­nam’s Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­manded that more than 2,200 videos whose con­tent is ei­ther fake be re­moved from Google-owned YouTube. The re­moval of the harm­ful YouTube videos is re­sult of sev­eral work­ing ses­sions be­tween Viet­nam and Google rep­re­sen­ta­tives, af­ter which the in­ter­net gi­ant has cre­ated a spe­cial mech­a­nism al­low­ing Viet­namese agen­cies to re­port nu­mer­ous links with bad con­tent at a time. YouTube has also pro­vided ad­di­tional tools to en­sure that their com­mer­cials will not be placed along­side ‘toxic’ con­tent on its plat­form. On top of work­ing with Google to sweep ‘toxic’ videos off YouTube, Viet­nam’s in­for­ma­tion min­istry has also reached agree­ment with Face­book to ‘pu­rify’ con­tent on the world’s largest so­cial net­work among lo­cal users.

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