HCMC bigwig rams three cars, two bikes on busy road

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A deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism surrendered to District 1 traffic police on Saturday an hour after his car had run into three cars and two motorbikes.

Police said a breathalyzer test of Le Ton Thanh, 57, recorded 0.2 milligrams of alcohol per air liter but added it might not be an accurate result because it was done an hour after the accident, news website VnExpress reported Monday.

Under Vietnamese law, a car driver will be fined VND8-10 million (US$382-478) if the concentration of alcohol in his blood exceeds 0.25 milligrams per liter of exhaled air and VND10-15 million if it is above 0.4 milligrams per exhaled air liter. The fine of VND2-3 million will be levied on those with lower alcohol content than these two cases.

The accident involving six vehicles occurred at around 5 p.m. when Thanh was driving his seven-seat Toyota Fortuner on Ly Tu Trong Street. He was approaching the Ly Tu Trong-Thu Khoa Huan intersection when he hit two taxis that were ahead of him on their sides. Thanh kept driving and hit two motorbikes waiting for the light to turn green.

Past the intersection, the car hit two signposts before crashing into a four-seat Toyota Camry at the next intersection, about 200 meters from the first collision.

Thanh fled the scene after the accident. It was not explained how he managed to do so, given that at around 5 p.m., traffic would be reasonably heavy on Saturday and there would be many people on the street.

Two women who were driving the motorbikes were rushed to the hospital and discharged the same day.

Thanh told VnExpress that he had only tasted a little wine with the "tip of his tongue" when having lunch after a meeting that morning.

"I suffer from high blood pressure and never drink wine or beer," he claimed.


The seven-seat Toyota Fortuner that a senior HCMC official crashed into three cars and two motorbikes on Ly Tu Trong Street in District on Saturday. The official fled the scene but surrendered to District 1 police later the same day.

Nguyen Thanh Rum, director of the HCMC Culture, Sports and Tourism told Thanh Nien that Thanh was a "decent" man who does not drink beer or other liquor often.

Thanh also claimed the tire of his right rear wheel burst at the Ly Tu Trong-Thu Khoa Huan intersection, causing him to lose control and hit all the vehicles.  

Thanh's Toyota Fortuner suffered some damage in the front, while the two taxis were badly dented and the two motorbikes severely damaged. The Toyota Camry did not suffer major damage, a Tuoi Tre report said Monday.

Police said they are investigating the case further.

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