Monday, September 30, 2002

Vietnam police arrest women for "Thai-style" performance

HANOI — Police in Vietnam's southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City said Monday they have arrested two strippers entertaining diners in a restaurant with a "Thai-style" performance.

The pair, aged 19 and 22, were detained on September 21 after serving up "starters" worth 50,000 dong (three dollars) to customers in two private rooms in the Van Nhi restaurant, a police official requesting anonymity told AFP.

"The girls were doing tricks with their sexual parts like those in Thailand," he said, referring to Bangkok's notorious red-light district of Patpong.

"One of the girls said she was able to show her customers extraordinary skills that normal prostitutes could not perform."

The pair then offered "main courses" to the restaurant's patrons, involving full sexual intercourse.

Two waitresses were also arrested in the raid and police have begun an investigation into the owner of Van Nhi, which opened in April in the Phu Nhuan district.

The police official said all four will be sent to rehabilitation centres, a euphemism for special prisons used by the communist government in its fight against "social evils", such as drug addiction and prostitution.

Four days later, on Wednesday, police raided a massage parlour in the same district and caught three masseurs giving "additional services" to their clients, the Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper reported.

Police have closed down a total of 13 restaurants, karaoke bars, barber shops, massage parlours and cheap hotels acting as fronts for brothels in the Phu Nhuan district this year, it said.

Although technically illegal, prostitution is rife in Vietnam, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Its reputation as the country's sin city dates back to the Vietnam War era.

Despite government rhetoric about eradicating prostitution, most businesses offering sexual services are allowed to ply their illicit trade after paying off corrupt local officials and police.

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Created: October 8, 2002
Last modified: October 8, 2002
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