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Southeast Asia, explained

Vietnam exploding vehicles 2012 02 27Enlarge
Cars and motorcyclists in downtown Hanoi on December 22, 2011. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

As if Vietnam's urban traffic weren't bad enough, motorists now must contend with a mysterious epidemic of exploding vehicles.

More than 100 spontaneous vehicle fires have drivers fearing "their vehicle could turn into a firebomb at any time," according to the Thanh Nien news outlet, which has published an impressive series of reports on the wave of exploding cars and motorbikes.

This problem is particularly worrisome for Vietnam's motorbike owners. The fuel tank sits just below the driver's crotch.

Cars too are bursting into flames. The latest high-profile incident sent a popular Ho Chin Minh City actress scrambling from her Nissan as acrid smoke poured from the air-conditioning vents.

So what's setting Vietnam's vehicles ablaze?

Thanh Nien's reporters believe they've cracked the case. The culprits, they believe, are criminals siphoning valuable gas from pumps and replacing it with shoddy, unsafe chemicals.

They've got the photos to back up their theory.

Aggressive digging. But will police follow through with their own equally aggressive investigation?

The news outlet isn't so sure.

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/vietnam-exploding-vehicles

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