HCMC airport turns to police as cocky government car drivers disdain guards, block roads

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A state-owned car parks in the middle of a lane in front of Tan Son Nhat Airport's domestic terminal on November 20. Photo credit: Saigon Times Online A state-owned car parks in the middle of a lane in front of Tan Son Nhat Airport's domestic terminal on November 20. Photo credit: Saigon Times Online

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Dozens of police officers and soldiers in Ho Chi Minh City have been pressed into duty to regulate traffic at Tan Son Nhat Airport's domestic terminal where illegally parked cars cause severe traffic congestion.
They are on duty every day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The department had received a letter from airport authorities asking for help in dealing with the vehicles, many of which are owned by government and military agencies, news website VnExpress said.
An airport spokesperson was quoted as saying that since the airport had no right to penalize drivers for illegal parking, many, especially drivers of government cars, disdain airport security guards' request to leave.
Only the police can penalize them, the spokesperson said.
Though a car can only be parked for three minutes at the terminal, many drivers remain there for hours, the news website quoted an unnamed airport security guard as saying.
This despite the fact the airport earmarks a free parking lot for them, he said.
If asked to leave, the drivers would simply get out of the vehicles and leave them behind or often ignore the security guards after arguing with them, he said.
With dozens of government cars always parked on two or three of the four lanes outside the terminal, the congestion becomes horrific during rush hour when more flights are scheduled, meaning more vehicles come to pick up and drop passengers, the website reported.
Since 2013 Tan Son Nhat has been operating far above its designed capacity of 20 million passengers a year, a fact that has been blamed for its infamously bad services.
The domestic terminal has served nearly 12 million passengers in the first nine months, the number it is equipped to handle in a full year.

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