Freeze bank accounts of sinkhole contractors: official

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The bank accounts of contractors who do a shoddy job of covering or repaving streets after construction work, causing sinkholes that put residents at risk, should be frozen, a Ho Chi Minh City official says.

She said mere fines will not be a strong enough deterrent.

"Punishing [careless contractors] with stricter measures is absolutely possible. The point is whether authorities are determined enough to do that," Ngo Minh Hong, director of Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Justice told the monthly television program "Talk and do" on Sunday.

There have been 33 street collapses since July this year, the city's Department of Transport said at the meeting, organized by the city's People's Council and Ho Chi Minh City Television.

One of the most serious cases that particularly angered the public happened in September.

On September 14, a 7-seater Vinasun taxi fell into a three-meter-deep, four-meter-wide hole after a section of Le Van Sy Street in District 3 collapsed due to previous underground excavation.

Luckily, there were no injures as the cab's driver jumped out before his vehicle sank into a watery sludge.

In the latest case on November 7, one wheel of a 4-seat Toyota car slipped into a hole at District 11's Lac Long Quan Ong Ich Khiem junction as the street collapsed suddenly under the weight of the vehicle.

Last month, two people were killed in separate accidents related to poor covering of sewers in the city.

One man fell into an open sewer and drowned as he waded with his bike through a flooded sidewalk on Thu Duc District's To Ngoc Van Street.

The other was killed in a traffic accident in Thu Duc District's Kha Van Can Street when she fell off her motorbike after running into a shoddily-constructed sewer cover. She was crushed to death by a passing truck.

Truong Trong Nghia, deputy chief of the Economic and Budget Agency under the city's People's Council, suggested the city authorities allot a sum of money to organize a group of experts to survey infrastructure constructions independently so that it becomes easier to identify agencies responsible for accidents and their consequences.

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