Australian TV show makes mockery of HCMC traffic with joke race, police oblivious

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 Two Australian men raced tiny motorbikes around a busy roundabout in Ho Chi Minh City . PHOTO COURTESY OF VTC NEWS

An online video clip showing two Australian men race mini motorbikes around a busy roundabout for three hours in downtown Ho Chi Minh City possibly this month has left the police red-faced.

The race, part of an Australian TV comedy show called Hamish & Andy's Gap Year Asia, was organized without the local police or Australian consulate in HCMC being aware of it.

Aked by VTC News, the consulate said Tuesday it cannot know about or keep tabs on all Australians visiting HCMC except when they seek help, pointing out that every year around 3,000 Australians visit Vietnam.

But if Australians come to HCMC illegally or violate Vietnamese laws, local authorities have the right to punish them, it said.

Nevertheless, for such a race, organizers must have received permission, very likely from Hanoi, it added.

VTC News quoted an unnamed HCMC traffic police (PC67) official as saying they had no idea about the race. 

PC67 are investigating and would inform the media, the official said.

Posted on YouTube, the 13-minute clip shows the TV show's hosts, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee, race around the roundabout -- one of city's busiest -- located at the junction of Districts 1,3, and 5 at the end of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.

Their challenge was to do 250 laps around the circle on ridiculously small motorbikes.

During the race, for the show's second episode on July 15, the two were seen falling off their bikes and hitting or nearly hitting other vehicles on several occasions.

A traffic police car can briefly be seen passing by.

In Vietnam, road accidents killed nearly 10,000 people last year.

Street motrobike racing is a huge problem in the country's big cities, often becoming a cat-and-mouse game between the police and the racers, who keep changing race venues.

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