The Ministry of Science and Technology will begin an investigation of all petrol and gas vendors nationwide next month, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang has announced.

The Ministry of Science and Technology would conduct the investigative campaign in co-ordination with other relevant ministries and would examine violations related to product quality, weights and measures, and safety, he said.

The Ministry of Public Security would be specifically in charge of enforcing fire prevention and safety regulations in order to close down gas shops, which handle gas unlawfully.

The announcement follows the nation's most recent fatal cooking gas explosion, which occurred in Hanoi's Tu Liem District this month, killing two and injuring three others.

Gas explosions have also occurred throughout the country since August, including in HCM City, Da Nang, the northern province of Lao Cai, the central province of Nghe An, and the southern province of Soc Trang.

Inspections would take place pursuant to Decrees No 104 and 105, which take effect on January 1 and establish sanctions for violations of regulations pertaining to petroleum businesses, according to the ministry's market management department.

The decrees have set sanctions ranging from 5-100 million VND (240-4,800 USD) up from previous levels of just 500,000 VND to 40 million VND (24-1,900 USD). Authorities would also be empowered to impose stricter sanctions, such as suspension of business licences for 12 months./.