The government of the southern Binh Phuoc Province has ordered strict punishment against two local senior officials for engaging in a drunken karaoke parlor brawl that left one hospitalized.
The Binh Phuoc Province People’s Committee confirmed that Bui Quoc Khanh., deputy director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Pham Thanh Chung, deputy director of the Department of Interior, engaged in the brawl.
According to the committee, a group of officials, including the pair, went to Bong Trang Restaurant in Dong Xoai Town at noon on August 12 after attending a political training session in the morning.
The officials ate, drank and sang karaoke.
Khanh reportedly went around to invite other officials to clink glasses, but he forgot Chung, who reportedly said something to criticize Khanh.
Things quickly unraveled.
According to eyewitness accounts, Khanh threw beer into Chung’s face and repeatedly hit him on the head with his empty glass.
Chung was rushed out of the karaoke room bleeding profusely from his head and face, while Khanh was still yelling at him.
Chung was admitted to hospital and given several stitches for his wounds.
News of the brawl traveled by word of mouth, but it was until Wednesday that the provincial People’s Committee convened a meeting to demand the two officials' accounts for the incident.
During the meeting, the officials apologized to each other and said they were under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Nguyen Van Tram, the provincial mayor, ordered the two departments to strictly punish the pair for violating regulations prohibiting civil servants from drinking during working hours.
He also ordered officials to punish them for violating the civil servants’ ethics code.
In January 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked all the 63 provinces in the country to enforce the ban on public officials drinking during working hours. Phuc had ordered a similar ban in March 2012, but it was not heeded, apparently.
A number of laws and regulations Vietnam has passed have not been strictly enforced because they lacked the implementation guidelines and personnel needed, officials say.