Australian speaker's escorts accused of violating Vietnam traffic rules

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As Nick Vujicic, an Australian motivational speaker who was born without arms and legs, was wrapping his high profile visit in Vietnam, his local bodyguards have been accused of violating several traffic rules .

Deputy Public Security Minister Pham Quy Ngo Friday ordered traffic police departments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to probe allegations leveled against the guards of the Titan Security Company in Ho Chi Minh City, and strictly punish violators.

Ngo's order came one day after a video clip that showed the guards blaring sirens continuously and using clubs to clear traffic for Vujicic's escort group went viral online.

The group was escorting the famous speaker from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC to his hotel in District 1.

Senior Lieutenant-colonel Tran Thanh Tra, head of HCMC road traffic police division, told Thanh Nien that the guards'actions were illegal.

He said under Vietnamese traffic laws, only the escorts of heads of state, and foreign politicians working as ministers are allowed to have traffic officers or military forces clear traffic for them.

Meanwhile, in response to Ngo's order, HCMC police Friday seized at least three motorbikes and one car of Vujicic's escort group as they were on their way back from the airport after a visit to Hanoi.

Police said the guards' violations included driving on the wrong lane, failing to present driving licenses and documents related to the vehicles, using a fake number plate, and ignoring red lights.

Vujicic arrived in HCMC on Wednesday and held talks in the city and the capital before leaving on Saturday.

His visit was supported with more than VND30 billion by the Hoa Sen Group, which saw an increase of 9.3 percent in its stocks over the past two days.

The rise is attributed to the company organizing Vujicic's visit. Vujicic is extremely popular in Vietnam. Three of his books have been translated into Vietnamese and have sold well.

During his visit , the Australian motivational speaker was welcomed by many young Vietnamese with the adulation typically reserved for pop stars with hundreds of fans waiting for him at airports.

Meanwhile, security was tight with no one, including reporters, allowed to approach him. Encounters between bodyguards and his audiences were also reported before and after his speeches.

Vujicic himself commented that while he has been to 46 countries, he has never been welcomed as warmly as he was in Vietnam.

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