A rock hurled through the window of a bus traveling through the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak injured a Chinese passenger’s eye on Wednesday night.
The incident is only the latest in a rash of criminal mischief plaguing bus companies in the central region.
Le Pham Anh Tuan, a driver of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Co Hai Transportation Company, said that the passenger sustained the injury at around 8 pm and bled profusely.
“Our bus was travelling on a section of road that was under maintenance when we heard a loud noise at the back of the vehicle. Then the passengers alerted me that someone had been hurt,” Tuan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The passenger's eye was injured and bleeding a lot,” he said, describing the man as a Chinese national employed as a technical advisor for a company in Gia Lai Province.
The injured passenger was rushed to a local hospital and the driver later stopped at a police station to report the incident.
The Chinese passenger was later transferred to a provincial hospital for further treatment, a manager at Co Hai told Thanh Nien News.
Three other buses were reportedly attacked with big rocks that broke the buses' windows at around the same time. Fortunately there were no injuries.
Stone-throwing has always been a problematic pastime in Vietnam's impoverished central region, which suffers high rates of poverty. In the past, the random violence was directed more toward trains, leading the national railway to install metal grating over train windows.
According to a survey prepared by Bao Viet Gia Lai, a local insurance company, more than 200 rock throwing incidents were reported in the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak and Gia Lai.
“We have paid around VND1 billion (US$47,000) in insurance compensation, since the beginning of the year, to the owners of buses which were pelted with rocks,” said Tran Quoc Anh, deputy head of Bao Viet Gia Lai Company.
Earlier this month, bus company employees seized a local man who had thrown rocks at the vehicles and handed him over to local police. Four other local men were later summoned to the station for the same violations.
However, the frequent attacks are far from being resolved, a transportation company manager said.
“Being hit with a rock is our drivers' biggest fear,” said Nguyen Thanh Thien, manager of the Tan Mien transportation company.
“When the bus is travelling on the road and suddenly gets hit, the driver can be injured or lose control and cause an accident.”
Last July, a bus from the The Hien Transportation Company was hit with a rock while travelling through the Dak Lak Province's Lak district.
The attack left Nguyen Thi Quynh Nhu, a 21-year old female passenger with severe brain injuries.
File photo shows Nguyen Thi Quynh Nhu, 21, being treated at a local hospital. She was rushed to the hospital with severe brain injuries.
Pham The Dung, Gia Lai mayor, has asked related departments and local authorities to intensify patrols along sections of road sections where such attacks are frequently reported.
The culprits must be heavily fined, Dung added.
Those who cause injuries must be brought to justice, he said.