Tuesday , February 7 2023

Drivers out of work as registry offices shut down amid bribery probe


Many drivers in Ho Chi Minh City have not been able to get registry renewal for their vehicles as an ongoing bribery case against registry officials has resulted in fewer centers opening.

Drivers have had to wait in long lines day after day without getting the necessary papers to resume their transport business.

At 4 a.m. on Friday, more than 150 automobiles were lined up in front of a registry office on National Highway 13, in Thu Duc City, three hours before it normally opens.

Cars and trucks wait for registry services at 4 a.m. outside a registry office in Thu Duc City, HCMC, December 30, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Cars and trucks wait for registry services at 4 a.m. outside a registry office in Thu Duc City, HCMC, December 30, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Van Vo, 50, one of the drivers waiting in line, said he came with his seven-seat car before 2 a.m. but there were already more than 100 others in front of him waiting to register their vehicles.

“I have done this for two days but did not get my car tested,” Vo said. “I’m really tired.”

He added that the center only checked around 200 cars a day, so some people could not get the service despite arriving as early as 4 a.m.

Vu bought his car on installments to work for ride-hailing services, but said that without the registration renewal, he has not been able to drive customers for days, which has cost him VND1 million ($42) a day in losses.

Nguyen Van Hoa, 34, another driver waiting at the center, delivered lunches to a factory for VND400,000 a day, but after he could not drive for three days because his car’s registry was not renewed, the factory owner hired another deliveryman.

A driver sleeps in his car as he waits outside a registry office in HCMC at 4 a.m. on December 30, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

A driver sleeps in his car as he waits outside a registry office in HCMC at 4 a.m. on December 30, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van

Nguyen Van Hung, who runs private trips between HCMC and nearby provinces, has had to reject five bookings recently as his car’s registry expired on December 28 and he has failed to have it renewed.

“If I drive and get caught with an expired registry paper,” Hung said, “I can be fined at least VND3 million and even lose my driver’s license.”

Car registry offices in HCMC have been overloaded for more than a week, after a number of offices had to shut down as their directors and staff members came under investigation for allegedly taking bribes.

An investigation found that 43 people had taken bribes worth VND10 billion to ignore problems with 70,000 automobiles.

The officials also rigged the system to make it look like the vehicles had met all the quality requirements on official records, according to the probe.

By December 29, just 10 out of 17 registry offices in the city were open, and they were only able to inspect around 1,830 cars a day.

Bui Van Quan, chairman of HCMC Cargo Transport Association, said the closure of car registry offices recently has severely affected transport businesses, especially those with high year-end demand.

Quan said the association has more than 100 members that are transport firms with nearly 6,000 automobiles, andd and has been receiving a lot of complaints from them about the long wait for registry renewals.

A number of businesses have had to reject orders, he said.

Nguyen To An, deputy director of the Vietnam Register, said the department has instructed registry offices to remain open for longer hours, even during the night, starting Tuesday next week, after the New Year holiday.

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