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City Authorities Order Closure of Sihom Street Market

Source: Vientiane Times

The Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department has ordered the closure of the evening street market that has mushroomed in the Sihom area, mainly on Hengboun Street.

Explaining the closure, the Department said the number of stalls had increased from 40 to 204, with vendors blocking the roads and obstructing traffic, while large amounts of garbage were created by the numerous food stalls. There were also no toilets for shoppers who flocked to the area.

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The move is aimed at ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in the city centre and is part of efforts to prepare for the Asean Summit that Laos will host next year, with the government wanting to create an orderly environment and make a good impression on visitors.

The department informed vendors of the decision on March 23 and ordered them to pack up their stalls on March 24.

Police will patrol the area to make sure that all stalls have been dismantled. If any remain open, the vendors will be given a written warning, and if they continue to flout the order their goods will be confiscated and fines will be issued.

Vendors who sell food and other goods from permanent shops lining Hengboun Street have been ordered to conduct sales from their premises only and not to extend their businesses into the street and obstruct traffic.

The night market is popular with young people as well as foreign tourists, with many buying food and clothing and other goods at bargain prices.

The Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department is now working with authorities in Sisattanak and Sikhottabong districts to allocate other places for vendors to set up their stalls.