Pham Ngu Lao Craziness


I decided to have lunch at Mimosa today.  Normally there are two tables just outside the restaurant.  Roughly every 2-3 months, the local police ‘confiscate’ one table for about a month.  The owner can get it back sooner but she did not want to have to pay the ‘fee’.  The police will return the table.  About a week before Tet, they will take it back again.

Same ole, same ole…

Pham Ngu Lao Craziness - Table Confiscated

(Used to be a table here)


  1. Oh, it’s not just related to tables or one restaurant. Sometimes they take the menu stands from a whole string of places. Smart owners just have another stand in the back (cheaper than paying off the cops).

    Usually a few days before a big holiday, or on the holiday itself, they roll by in their pickup truck and start confiscating stuff until they are paid off.

    And it’s not just Pham Ngu Lau. It’s all around town. One bar owner near the airport told me he instructs his staff to park the nice motorbikes behind the shop in the alley. That way the cops only see cheap motorbikes in front and don’t think he’s making too much money.

    The way to stop this sort of “corruption” is not so difficult. Pay the cops more and expect them to spend their time on actual crime fighting and not this nonsense (pickpocketing is rampant throughout the city)

    Currently the cops are so poorly paid that the “tips” from the job are the only thing that keep them aboves waitresses in salary.

    I saw this transition in Korea. Once the government employees were paid properly they were really scared of taking “under the table” money because they really could loose their jobs. And no one wants to loose a government job, do they?

  2. @David: This restaurant has to keep their motorbikes as close to the building or they will get a fine. The table is normally taken every two months. The owner does not want to pay for the fine.

    @Tracy: Yeah, table is on the sidewalk blocking pedestrians. Really…

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