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News Link • Corbett Report

Law and Disorder: Even Tyranny Has Cracks

•, Corbett

As you will also know from the video, it was a hot and humid trip, but it was definitely worth sweating it out for the chance to see another part of the globe.

As Broc observes in our chat about day-to-day life in Vietnam, the police presence in the country is neither as prevalent nor as ominous as one would expect in an officially communist state. It's not a boots-on-the-ground military dictatorship so much as a place where you're apt to see a communist propaganda billboard hanging right beside a Starbucks-like coffee shop, and unless you're causing trouble you're unlikely to have run-ins with the police.

Of course, "causing trouble" is open to a wide range of interpretation. Just ask the two journalists who exposed a major corruption scandal in the Vietnamese government's Ministry of Transport (who were subsequently arrested), or the Vietnamese blogger reporting on government corruption who fled to Thailand earlier this year seeking political asylum (who was subsequently abducted and transported back to Vietnam for imprisonment). Contrast those dramatic interventions with the myriad scams and swindles one is likely to encounter in day-to-day life in a place like Vietnam, where bribes of petty officials will often ensure swift processing of applications and groups of foreigners openly smoke "controlled substances" without interference from local police.

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