Province ordered to look into purchase of 'gangster' bikes for cops

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The purchase of eight Kawasaki Ninja 250R motorcycles for police patrol in the southern province of Dong Nai has come in for public criticism

The government has ordered the southern province of Dong Nai to review its transport department's purchase of eight patrol motorcycles for police officers that have come under fire for looking like gangsters' vehicles and being too expensive.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc passed the order following media reports that the public was not happy with the Kawasaki Ninja 250R motorcycles.

Critics said they looked like those commonly used by biker gangs and cost more than market prices.

The Japanese manufacturer's website suggests a retail price of around $4,199 for the Ninja 250R, while Duong Manh Hung, chief inspector of the Department of Transport, said they bought the bikes from Thailand at around $10,600 each.

He said the purchase was made through a bid and approved by the finance and transport departments as well as the People's Committee.

Earlier, in an interview with Dan Tri, Hung said the bikes look "improper" only because they have yet to be fitted with other devices and accessories.

"Once they are fully equipped with logos, sirens, and other devices, the bikes will be suitable for patrols," he claimed, adding that they are used "effectively" in some neighboring countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Nguyen Van Diep, director of the transport department, also called for people's "sympathy," saying it would be impossible for the police to do their job well with poor equipment.

Tran Thi Tuyet Mai, director of Phuong Mai Joint-stock Company, which won the bid to supply the motorbikes, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper the vehicles cost more in Vietnam because they were subjected to several taxes and fees.

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