The Vietnamese government has taken steps to beat the greatest threat facing their country today: hamsters.
Santa Hamster will get you a hefty fine in Vietnam. Image by Mader Andrea
Yes, hamsters. Authorities, who believe the animals are linked to disease, are so concerned about hamster ownership that they’ve imposed a fine of 30 million dong ($1,900) for anyone caught in possession of the furry rodents. That’s nearly twice the average yearly salary in the country.
According to the BBC:
“…A combination of factors including growing incomes and the Chinese Year of the Rat have made the beady-eyed rodents highly desirable.
They have been trading for $10 to $20 each and are reported to be a hit with the young population of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, spawning a whole sub-culture of hamster forums and hamster clubs.”
Authorities believe most of the hamsters are being illegally imported from China and Thailand. Presumably there are vicious gangs of hamster smugglers fighting to control the lucrative trade to the underground hamster clubs of Hanoi.
Hamsters are just one of the many odd items being smuggled into Vietnam and other countries in the region. A BBC report said:
“A recent survey alarmingly showed that most anti-malaria drugs – in Vietnam and other countries of the region – were fakes traced back to China.
And reports abound of other counterfeit or dangerous items sold for human consumption – including rather startling internet rumours of a trade in fake chicken’s eggs.”
Fake anti-malaria drugs are a serious and potentially deadly issue. Fake chicken eggs, however, are just weird. I notice they call it an internet rumour, which makes me think it’s not true. For one thing, I have no idea how you could make fake chicken eggs. You could replace them with eggs of some other bird, but with eggs currently selling at a couple dollars per dozen, I don’t see why you would go to the trouble.
Info from BBC