Risking life and limb for a few dollars

By Dang Hanh, Thanh Nien News

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A man tries to carry his daughter over a fence to get into a water park in Hanoi for free. Photo credit: Thanh Nien, Vnexpress A man tries to carry his daughter over a fence to get into a water park in Hanoi for free. Photo credit: Thanh Nien, Vnexpress


Security guards at a water park that offered free entry the Sunday before last claim they try in vain to dissuade hundreds of visitors from climbing over pointy iron fences to get into the park.
That hot morning Tay Ho (West Lake) Water Park was indeed overrun by tens of thousands of visitors.
At around 9 a.m., just an hour after opening, there were so many people that park officials had to announce on the public address system that the gates would be closed.
But the thousands of queuing visitors outside had not intentions of turning back.
Hundreds began to climb the two-meter-odd pointy iron fence to get into the park.
“It’s so frustrating to reach the park gate but not inside,” a girl, who had just successfully climbed the fence, told Thanh Nien.
“So we had to climb however dangerous it was.”
Many parents even climbed with their children in their arms. Many toddlers were seen crying or frightened at the top of the flimsy fence.
Many people’s clothes were torn and several cases of sexual harassment of lone women were reported in the turmoil.
Except for the victims and security guards who had run themselves into the ground, everyone else seemed to be enjoying the Sunday morning.
But the most satisfied were possibly the managers, who saw their park’s name splashed on every local newspaper and website after just the first free Sunday.
Nghiem Hong Hanh, the deputy head of the park, revealed that the management had foreseen such a turmoil.
“We have a free entry day on the first day of the dry season, and every circumstance is foreseen,” he said, adding that people had similarly scaled the fence last year.
It is understandable that although they had foreseen such scenes, the managers had no plans to either calm down the crowd or get them in in an orderly fashion, since they were smart enough to realize that the chaos would cost them nothing and in fact would get them some notoriety for free.
But for sure more sedate customers, such as me, will consider the crowded park an extremely unsafe place, especially for their children
But whatever the lesson people drew from the incident, I predict that next year, on the free day, thousands will queue up and then climb over fence to get in.
Or we may not have to wait that long. Since there is soon bound to be another park -- or restaurant or cinema -- which has learned a marketing lesson or two.

A young woman is pulled out of a swimming pool by two others. She was reportedly sexual harassed by some unknown men in the swimming pool at the Ho Tay Water Park in Hanoi Sunday morning.


Adults and kids successfully stand on the roof of a building beside the Ho Tay Water Park. They were among hundreds who climbed over the park fence to get in for free.


A young boy, already wearing a life jacket, tries to climb over the fence with help


Two women help a young boy scale the fence to get into the park.



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