General InterestGovernmentRules and LawSecurity

Vientiane People’s Council Mulls Antisocial Activities

Source: Vientiane Times

Drugs, theft, gambling and other forms of undesirable conduct in the capital were raised for discussion at a four-day session of the Vientiane People’s Council, which ended on Friday.

Drug trafficking and abuse was the most common concern among council members speaking at the debate.

A council member from Sikhottabong district, Mr Chanthala Oudomsouk, pointed to Internet cafés as places where drug dealing, prostitution and gambling often took place, with betting on football matches being a common pastime.

He also mentioned the gambling games that typically accompanied children’s fairs, which he said were proliferating in the city, and asked if such activities were permitted by the authorities.

He complained that the authorities were not tough enough with drug dealers, saying they just caught small fry then fined and released them.

“The authorities, including the security forces, don’t have the right to impose fines but they do anyway,” Mr Chanthala said, noting that fines could only be levied by courts following certain verdicts.

Vehicles and other items collected in relation to drug cases were not used in the lawsuit or included in the file of documents, he said, adding that there was a lack of transparency in such cases.

Another council member, Mr Buaket Phimmachanh, said reports from defence and security forces should provide updates about how many villages maintained their status as models of defence and public security, their current circumstances, the number of crimes committed, and the identity of people accused of crimes.

Prosecutors reported on the situation in prisons and their responsibilities in relation to inspections. The council also wanted to hear about the reasons why some people had died while in custody.

A council member from Pakngum district passed on a complaint to the session about village police officers who were asked to investigate a case reported by members of the public, but refused to go to the scene of the incident, saying there was no evidence of the purported dispute about property.

Council member Mr Sisouphanh Bounsameu from Sangthong district praised the performance of the defence and security forces in maintaining peace and order during national and international events.

However, he complained that authorities were negligent about unregulated border crossings, saying people crossed the Mekong anywhere they wanted. He called for the use of legal measures in such cases and said everyone should be made aware of the law in this regard.

He also told the session about the growing use of drugs in Sangthong district, but said the same problem existed in other areas.

Council member Mr Prachit Xayavong from Xaysettha district said some tricksters were stopping trucks along 450 Year Road and asking drivers for money for fraudulent reasons. He also raised concerns about people racing their vehicles on that road, and the motorbike racing that took place around Patouxay in the middle of the night.

“At night people are asleep and the police are also asleep. When the police are absent, thieves come out to play,” he said.

Council member Mr Bounthong Phommachanh said drugs were the main threat to public security. He also called for greater public protection against swindlers who set up companies, such as pyramid schemes, that enticed people to part with their money as a form of investment, which was then embezzled.

Another issue raised by council members was the amount of noise occurring during traditional festivals, which they said caused difficulties in terms of public security. They suggested that set times be imposed to control such activities, similar to the opening and closing times at places of entertainment.

In his address, Council President Dr Anouphap Tounalom noted that soldiers and the police were the main entities undertaking defence/security tasks, but that the Lao Front for National Development and other mass organisations also helped to resolve various problems.


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