Vietnam Bans Booze in Karaoke Bars to Combat 'Social Evils'

Karaoke bars in Vietnam will no longer be allowed to sell or have alcohol on their premises as part of the country's continued campaign against so-called 'social evils,' a government official said Friday.

Under a decree that took effect Thursday, karaoke bars, along with discotheques, will also be required to close down at midnight, said Le Anh Tuyen, director of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Culture and Information.

"The decree will definitely help reduce negative activities in karaoke bars and discotheques," he said.

Karaoke establishments and discos frequently facilitate prostitution and drug usage.

Friday's Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper quoted Phan An Sa, chief inspector at the Ministry of Culture and Information as saying authorities have discovered 600 people using the drug ecstasy and 60 women offering striptease dances to customers at karaoke bars and discos over the past nine months.

Karaoke was introduced into Vietnam in the late 1980s and mushroomed in the late 1990s, with more than 10,000 establishments licensed to operate in the country, Tuyen said.