Traffic crashes shoot up in Hanoi after soccer win over Thailand

December 25th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Hanoi, Dec 25 (DPA) Traffic accidents went up by 30 percent in Hanoi Wednesday night after a Vietnamese football victory over rival Thailand triggered wild celebrations across the city, a doctor from Bach Mai hospital said Thursday.”We have given first aid to 62 victims in the past 24 hours,” said Nguyen Doc Lap. “This is an increase of 30 percent over normal days. There are many serious cases.”

Nguyen Tien Dung, an officer with Hanoi’s department of traffic, said, “Three people were killed in traffic accidents on Christmas Eve.”

Roaring young fans with large Vietnamese flags kept streets close to central Hoan Kiem Lake immobile for hours after Vietnam’s first-round victory over Thailand in the AFF Suzuki Cup Final.

It was a display of patriotism to rival anything seen on national holidays.

“Vietnam is a champion! I’m so happy,” yelled one student with a red and gold headband reading ‘Viet Nam Vo Dich’ (’Vietnam Victory’) and a Manchester United scarf.

Drummers standing backwards and astride the backs of motorbikes led frenzied crowds in cheers as small fireworks were set off and those on foot formed conga lines through the densely packed bikes. Those lacking drums used whatever they could find, including saucepan lids.

Spontaneous public displays are relatively uncommon in Vietnam.

A young man in a Santa suit stood astride a fountain opposite KFC in the city’s Old Quarter, furiously waving a flag in the air. Though Buddhist, Vietnam has embraced Christmas in recent years and Christmas Eve sees the streets busy with people.

Vietnam is set to meet Thailand once more on Dec 28 at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium.

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