November 2, 2009

Hung-over like a mongrel three-legged dog with no tail – I stumbled into ‘Crazy Kim’ English language school wondering what I had committed myself to the night before.

'The English Teacher'

I’d been drinking at ‘Crazy Kim Bar’ in Nha Trang, a coastal holiday town in Vietnam. Now, 7 hours later I was the official beginner’s English teacher. Walking into the classroom the 30 plus students – aged between five and 50 years old were just as surprised to see me, as I was nervous and unsure what to do.

The regular Vietnamese teacher then handed me a thick book and said ..‘just work from the text, write the exercises on the blackboard – don’t worry, they can’t understand you. It’s a beginner’s class .. they don’t understand English’. So, I was on safe ground!

The free English language school was established by a tough, confident woman with a flirtatious smile named Kimmy Le. Aka: ‘Crazy Kim’. Ever the businesswoman, attempting to teach the class how to read an English menu .. she yelled: ‘Make sure you teach them about the Government and restaurant taxes!’

'The Students'


Her story is one of survival, passion and smarts.

As a teenager she and her older brother fled Communist Vietnam onboard a wooden boat packed with fellow escapees. After three months at sea – the Le’s found dry land, refugee status and safety in Holland. A University education led to meeting a boy, a short marriage in Canada and a new passport.

It was past mid-night .. we sat chatting at the Bar when Kim said: ‘… I did it because of that pedophile thing!!!’. It didn’t need explaining.

Now in possession of a Canadian passport and no longer married Kim returned to Vietnam and started teaching Information Technology at the Nha Trang University. What caught her attention were the children living on the beach – selling what they could, sometimes themselves in order to get enough money to buy food.

According to Kim – her lunch times were spent at the beach, warning boys and girls about the men who gave them money for sex. It was one woman’s personal war on pedophiles.

She soon quit teaching – and brought a rundown bar around the corner from a ‘woman holding a baby who was desperate to sell’, according to Crazy Kim – ‘She wanted four million dong .. I talked her down to 2 and a half million dong’ .. so began her career as bar owner and anti-pedophile campaigner.

English classes were taught to the street kids inside the bar.

'Crazy Kim'

‘I slept on the pool table for a month and had a shower installed in the toilet’ .. Kim remembers: ‘.. I started playing music and the place became packed’.

Outgrowing her beginnings – the now Crazy Kim Bar has a dance floor, three bars, a garden area and two classrooms. 

“Hands off the kids” is her motto – as she rides around Nha Trang on her pink motorbike nicknamed the‘PEDOPHILE BUSTER’.

By now the dozen female Dutch students in Vietnam to experience the culture decided with the European dance hits no longer playing, it was time to go and so followed the five Aussies blokes who had been gazing the girls. With the western dollars gone home, Crazy Kim stood her ground and refused to pay. The police officer left empty handed, we stayed and drank, no music and with the lights a little brighter.

The lights shone on a trophy wall of sorts at the entrance to the Crazy Kim Bar. Photographs and headshots of the children Kim had saved, the people who had helped and a brief outline of Crazy Kim’s story.

'The Children's Wall'

‘People want me to write a book and make a movie about my life’ she said. I asked what she would do with the money and without hesitation Crazy Kim answered: ‘.. I’d build a new English school for the kids’.

If Crazy Kim is willing to accept a hung-over mongrel three-legged dog with no tail like myself .. she’ll have no shortage of English teachers.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rich_&_Dead_BosniaRichard Beaulac says he is having fun.

But his idea of fun has the seaside town of Nha Trang in Vietnam sounding the alarm.

The locals led by anti-child sex activists believe that the 37-year-old Beaulac from Quebec has arrived in their tourist beach to prey on the young.

Beaulac is the same man charged with child sex crimes in neighbouring Cambodia, and his past has followed him to Vietnam.

His alleged penchant for local prostitutes, the party life and his writings on the web have upset the local community so much that they have lodged a police complaint against him.

Now they want the Canadian government to investigate his alleged sex tourism activities in Asia.

But Beaulac says he doesn’t deserve the bad reputation and according to his website, he is just having loads of fun.

In an e-mail this week, Bealuac said the charges against him in Cambodia are trumped up.

He said the charges were dropped.

But anti-child sex advocate Kimmy Le of Nha Trang suspects Beaulac is up to no good in her town.

Le, who runs a bar and a school for local street kids, said she has contacted the police in the Loc Tho District where Beaulac is suspected to be staying. Le, who is also known locally as ‘Crazy Kim’ for her die-hard dedication to catching sexual predators, said Beaulac came to relax at her bar about a week ago.

“He was playing pool in my bar,” she told the Asian Pacific Post. “He asked me, ‘Are you Crazy Kim?’ I said, ‘Yes.’”

Beaulac has not returned since then, she said.

He plans to sue Le for releasing his “private information.”

Le said others in the town have allegedly seen Beaulac cavorting with hookers and boozing it up with locals.

“He has been paying for a lot of prostitutes, and then he puts their pictures up on the Internet and rates them about skill and price,” said David Heft, originally from California who lives in Nha Trang.

“We think this is disgusting.”

Heft said several residents have confronted Beaulac about his alleged ugly behaviour and his past but Beaulac claims the charge in Cambodia was made up by local gangsters trying to extort money from him.

Last year, the Asian Pacific Post reported that Bealuac was charged with attempted rape after allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Cambodian street beggar, in the Angkor temple town of Siem Reap, where he worked as an English teacher.

Beaulac allegedly picked up the 13-year old girl along with three other female street children and took them back to his apartment. He then allegedly sent the three girls away before molesting the remaining girl. He told police he lay naked on the bed but denies molesting her. The Siem Reap Provincial Court in Vietnam subsequently charged him with attempted rape.

At that time Somath Khun, an English teacher who acted as Beaulac’s translator for the police, said Beaulac told him that he was innocent and claimed that police had demanded $7,000 to drop the charges.

In an e-mail Tuesday, Beaulac wrote: “This story is long time finish. It was all about extracting money. I did not pay the money they asked me and I took a lawyer, then it took a year to finalize all this, went to court and theses charges were dropped. All the officials who were involved . . . lost their employments . . . and some others.

“The girl and mom in my story. . . it was not the first time they were doing this to extract money.”

Calls to the Canadian Embassy in Cambodia were not answered.

Cambodia has struggled to shed its reputation as a haven for pedophiles, putting dozens of foreigners in jail for child sex crimes or deporting them to face trial in their home countries since 2003.

Le, who has helped authorities nab others wanted for sexually exploiting children, said Beaulac has been writing some disturbing stuff on his FaceBook website since he arrived in Vietnam about four months ago.

She runs the the Pedophiles Buster Team, where she leads investigations from the back of her bar.

Beaulac currently works as a scuba diver instructor for Scuba Zone, she says, a company frequented by tourists.

He is also listed as the administrator of “Boom Boom Divers,” a group on the social networking site FaceBook.

On the group’s page, written by Beaulac, are hints of his behaviour that has the locals alarmed.

“In no way do Boom Boom Divers endorse binge drinking, but we do enjoy it. In no circumstances Boom Boom Divers agree to pay for sex relationships, but we agree for performance bonus donations so they can afford their taxi back home,” the web page says.

On his website, Beaulac says he served in the UN Protection Forces in former Yugoslavia in 1993. His site features pictures of him at war, posing next to scorched bodies and melted flesh. There are pictures of young women posing seductively and tributes to the Nazi regime on the website. Beaulac states he is currently reading Mein Kampft, Adolph Hitler’s autobiography.

Heft says as well as using the services of local prostitutes, Beaulac has a new 21-year-old girlfriend, whom he plans to marry.

“We have told (the girlfriend) about him and she says it doesn’t matter,” Heft told the Asian Pacific Post.

“He has asked her to marry him after knowing her for two weeks, and she is desperate to be married.”

Beaulac is not on Interpol’s list but The Future Group, a non-profit in Calgary, has repeatedly called for the Canadian government to investigate the charges against Beaulac and to lay charges under Canada’s child sex tourism laws.

Only one person has ever been charged under Bill C-27 and C-15, amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code criminalizing child sex tourism. That prosecution of Donald Bakker in Vancouver is largely considered accidental, since the overseas crimes were originally discovered during the course of an investigation for offenses in Canada.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crazy Kim’s in Nha Trang

During the entire 13 hour drive from Saigon to Nha Trang the sun was beaming down on Vietnam. Our first sunny day in over a week. When the bus stopped for lunch in a quaint beach town, we ate over-looking the water then relaxed with a beer under a palapa. The bus schedule only allowed 10 minutes to soak up the sun and scenery. Turns out we are only half way to Nha Trang, a beach city. 

Nha Trang is nearly as noisy, and definitely as bustling, as Hanoi. Unfortunately for us, the only full day we spent in Nha Trang was a full day of rain. That left a few options, we chose to enjoy the food, have a drink, and go to a spa. The bus did some other tourist run, which we chose to skip.

Tony & I happened upon Crazy Kim’s bar. A bar that promotes non-pedophilia. Here check it out for yourself:

Crazy Kim’s holds classes at the bar during the day to mainly teach English, bar, spa and computer skills to the children of Nha Trang. Fundamentally the cause is good, but the promotion against pedophilia is done in an odd fashion. As the menu begins with it’s heart wrenching story then also offers Blow Jobs for 60K Dong (that’s less than $2). Yes, yes, it is a drink they are offering. Although in all my bar attendance (trust me I’m an Honor Student when it comes to attendance at bars around the globe) I have never seen a drink menu with a Blow Job nor a Pink Pussy nor any of these shots… maybe the Baby Guiness…

They even have Spa Packages:

Tony & I chose to enjoy a drink, no shots thank you. While sipping in the drink and environment, we met a couple of new friends. Cute kids selling stuff to us (when I say “cute” I don’t mean… oh never mind).

I bought a book, The Girl in the Picture, the Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War. A great book to read before arriving to Vietnam. It turned out that the book I purchased was a copy, which made it inexpensive and slightly off. The pages are thinner, the text is gray instead of black, and sometimes the text slants on a page. The book cover looks like the real published book, I had no idea it was copy until I was back on the bus heading to Dalat.



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