Da Nang's utopia plan hits setback as street beggars see fourfold increase

Thanh Nien News

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Residents at a drug rehab center in Da Nang. Photo credit: Doan Nguyen/Zing.vn Residents at a drug rehab center in Da Nang. Photo credit: Doan Nguyen/Zing.vn

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New data released by Da Nang this week showed that the city is moving further away from its idealistic goal of becoming a model city free of homeless people, beggars and drug users.
Officials at a meeting Wednesday said that despite continuous progress made since 2001, such a goal is now seriously challenged after they counted nearly 2,700 drug users and 331 homeless on the city streets last year. 
The number of homeless citizens saw a staggering fourfold increase compared to 2014. Among them, 90 had mental illnesses. 
Nguyen Thi Thanh Hung, director of the city’s social affairs department, said homeless people are "a problem of every city."
She said the problem is hard to tackle because there are many "employed" beggars, who were forced to stay on the streets and beg for money for their ring leaders.
The number of drug users was almost the same as in 2014, but police noted that the amount of heroin seized increased more than five times.
Da Nang’s deputy police chief Nguyen Van Chinh blamed the increasing drug use as a factor in the 7.6 percent rise in street crimes.

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