A bust goes down

Nha Trang Travel Blog

 › entry 104 of 126 › view all entries
Confiscated vender's cart

  My friend Ý (pronounced ee as in see) had been busted before. For several years she manned one of my favorite sidewalk stands for sipping iced coffee or a bottle of beer while watching the bustling activity on Tran Phu boulevard pass by. Several months ago police had confiscated her rolling display cabinet, coolers, and kid's-size plastic tables and chairs. I don't know if they took her merchandise too. Until now, I had only actually seen it happen once when the balloon lady had her propane tanks taken. It happened often with the sidewalk venders along the stretch of Tran Phu that passes the main traveler's area, maybe to encourage business in the higher priced permanent places.

 

It was a pleasant surprise to see her back in business.

Closing shop
Recently divorced from Tien, she was struggling to keep two daughters in school on her own. Her street-side operation was much smaller now: two baskets of snacks saddle-bagged across the back of her motorbike, one plastic cooler, and a short stack of red plastic stools that were about one-foot square and stood a foot high. More plastic bags and bottles hung from hooks on either side of her motorbike. While I sipped a Saigon beer, Ý enjoyed her own afternoon beverage by filling a glass with a chunky soup-like concoction of banana and rice that she squeezed from a plastic baggie.

 

Suddenly a flat-bed police truck pulled to a stop. Five uniformed officers and two more in plain clothes sat on the back which also held a venders cart and some confiscated tables and chairs.

Another bust down the street
One of the men waved a black and yellow billy-club in our direction. Ý quickly set my beer on the sidewalk and jumped to her feet while stacking the red stools to whisk them out of sight in a nearby alley. The police swarmed all around us. As Ý scrambled to roll her motorbike into the alley, I stood at my bicycle to show it was mine though they had no qualm with me. We never even made eye contact. As quickly as they appeared, the raiders climbed back onto the truck taking Ý's stack of brand new stools with them. She got off easy this time.

 

The truck stopped at another vender's just down the street but I couldn't tell if they confiscated more goods or equipment there. Ý shrugged it all off with a smile as though it were a routine risk that came with the territory. She said she would have the stools back tomorrow after talking to her sister. Her sister runs a similar stand just up the street, directly across from the beach-side police post where the truck is often parked. I suspect she must be either married to one of the officers or is somehow in cahoots with them. I finished my beer standing street-side then pedaled home.

rotorhead85 says:
They were only interested in Ý's operation.They're very lenient to most everyone and you rarely see them here unless someone calls them.
Posted on: Nov 30, 2010
muctieuvietnam says:
"The police swarmed all around us. As Ý scrambled to roll her motorbike into the alley, I stood at my bicycle to show it was mine though they had no qualm with me. We never even made eye contact."

Do you think it's because they see you as a foreigner/tourists? Just curious how the law treats foreigners? I look like a native but I'm really a foreigner and curious how the law is there compared to cops in the United States.
Posted on: Nov 30, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Confiscated venders cart
Confiscated vender's cart
Closing shop
Closing shop
Another bust down the street
Another bust down the street
Moving shop
Moving shop
Ys bike in the alley
Y's bike in the alley
Nha Trang
photo by: rotorhead85