About 30 minutes ago I was walking back from eating lunch at Now Zone on Nguyen Van Cu St and was on the pavement verging the Nga sau Cong hoa roundabout midway between Ng. Van Cu and Pham Viet Chanh outside the German beer restaurant. This roundabout is the confluence of Ng. Thi Minh Khai, Ly Thai To, Hung Vuong, Tran Phu, Pham Viet Chanh and Ng. Van Cu street’s and is a very busy intersection. It’s also the confluence point for Districts 1, 3 and 5.
I heard some shouting coming from within the traffic and looked up to see two men on a motorbike heading in the wrong direction against the traffic flow with two other men seemingly in pursuit about two bike lengths behind them. The passenger on the second bike was doing all the yelling and waving his arms about, either telling people to get out of the way or to stop the two men in front. It was very difficult to hear because of the heavy traffic noise. I quickly noticed that the passenger on the second bike was holding a black automatic pistol in his hand, and I should point out that all four men were dressed in civilian clothes.
Traffic in the centre of the intersection quickly became chaotic, but somehow the pursued were finding a way through with the two on their tail seeming to get closer. In amongst the chaos the guy on the back of the second bike fired the pistol in the air, and I have to tell you, the sharp report of the shot scared the hell out of me. The two bikes were lost to view in the traffic then and I (should I say “we” because by now the street was packed with onlookers), could not see them until they came out into Ng. Van Cu and headed off towards District 4.
I have a thing about unexpectedly hearing guns fired that no doubt is a legacy from my time in the army and I don’t mind admitting that the hairs were still standing up on the back of my neck when I reached my house. I’m sure that, by their actions, these were police chasing criminals, but it was unnerving nevertheless. I seem to have a knack lately for being on the scene as this previous article describes. Is it just my random fortune to witness these events, or is this city becoming more prone to this type of action? I hope it’s not the latter.