Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Vietnam: Increasing Targeting of Foreigners Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Tourists

According to, Ho Chi Minh City police said Monday (November 4) that they have arrested a suspect who allegedly attempted to steal to a mobile phone from a Japanese tourist in District 1.

District 1 is the central urban district of Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. With a total area of 7.7211 kilometers the district has a population of 204,899 people as of 2010.

COMMENT: Phan Tan Dung, 24, of District 5 was riding a motorbike on Ton Duc Thang Street near Bach Dang Wharf last Saturday (November 2) when he observed Takari Shigesawa taking photos on the street with an iPhone 5S. 

Subsequently, Phan Tan Dung sped up towards the Japanese tourist and physically stole the iPhone from his hands at which Shigesawa called out for help.

Senior Lieutenant Nguyen Quoc Hung of the city traffic police who was patrolling at the time in District 1, heard him and chased after Dung. Two other traffic police officers, Truong Quang Thanh and Tran Van Hong, who were at the scene, joined in the chase and apprehended Dung shortly afterwards and returned the phone to Shigesawa.

Although in this case the victimized foreign tourist had his stolen property returned to him, the stark reality is that Vietnam has generally been unresponsive to deterring crimes and scams against foreign tourists, which is why I discourage all foreign travelers from visiting Vietnam until such time as the Republic of Vietnam National Police makes serious inroads in reducing violent crime.