Up to 71 percent of surveyed internet users in Hanoi come to internet cafes to play games, the municipal Department of Information and Communications has said.

The survey was conducted between August and December this year in 29 districts, communes and towns in Hanoi on internet use by local citizens at internet cafes.

It reveals that Son Tay Town has the largest number of online game players with 71 percent, followed by the districts of Phu Xuyen, 52 percent; Dong Anh, 48 percent and Phuc Tho, 47 percent.

Meanwhile, the Government has taken many measures to crackdown on online games after a public outcry over their negative influence on the youth. Many reports have blamed online games for school truancy and even the increase in juvenile crime.

The Ministry of Information and Communications has banned online gaming at internet cafes from 10pm to 8am.

Vietnam has 12 million gamers, the majority of whom are students and office workers, according to the Vietnam Software Association.

According to a report released from the US-based firm Pearl Research last year, the number of gamers in Vietnam will exceed 25 million by 2014.

The survey also shows that around 31 percent people use the internet for chat or mail and 35 percent people use the Internet to seek information.

Pupils and students account for the highest rate of internet users at cafes with Ung Hoa and Chuong My districts having the highest number of pupils using the internet at cafes (73 percent) while Tu Liem and Cau Giay districts have the highest number of students using the internet with 65 and 64 percent, respectively.

There are more than 2,100 internet cafes in the city, and about 1,870 cafes have registered with local authorities, according to the survey.

In 2011, inspectors from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism inspected 71 Internet cafes and fined 20 shops a total of 37.5 million VND (1,800 USD) for violating regulations. 10 other internet cafes also had their internet connection cut due to violations, many of which included the failure to stop Internet services after 10pm.

The city has so far cracked down around 500 internet cafes operating near schools.

Under the current regulations, internet shops are not allowed to operate within 200 metres of schools and must close between 10pm and 8am.

Head of the Post and Telecommunication Office of the Department of Information and Communications Nguyen Tien Sy said the survey's results would be used as data for local authorities in managing internet cafes and online gamers.

The department plans to propose the municipal People's Committee to tighten planning on internet cafes by ensuring most are situated at entertainment centres or supermarkets./.