Telecommunications violations will be punished with fines of up to 70 million VND (3,500 USD) and no less than 200,000 VND (10 USD), according to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

The ministry is drafting a decree stipulating how to penalise violations to replace existing regulations which lag behind actual developments.

The decree covers violations in business and services, public telecommunications, licenses, resources and network connectivity among others.

Inspectors, people's committees at all levels, police and customs officers and market monitors are among those entrusted to enforce the fines.

However, only the ministry's chief telecommunications inspectors will have the authority to impose the maximum fine.

On Oct.18, officials in central province of Quang Ngai ’s Son Tinh district arrested 17-year-old Huynh Minh Anh, after catching him attempting to steal telecommunications cables.

Anh, a native of the district, was arrested as he tried to drive away with the cables he had cut from pylons on his bike. He said that he and his accomplices had stolen cables five times to fund their online gaming addictions.

District police said that cable theft had risen in the last two months compared to earlier in the year when it only occurred sporadically.

The number of thefts in the last two months was almost equal to the total number in the first half of the year, they said.

An and his co-horts will face criminal charges for stealing national property and sabotaging the telecommunications network, according to police./.