Increasing petty crime hampers Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism

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HCMC touristsPetty theft and a general feeling of insecurity is increasingly disrupting Vietnam’s appeal for tourists. According to Ho Chi Minh City police official, robberies targeting foreign tourists in the city downtown have not receded despite many efforts by law enforcement, Thanh Nien News reported.

Pickpockets, bag snatchers and motorbike robbers are the biggest reason for annoyances. However, according to the police, many foreign tourists only spend a few days in the city and they do not report being robbed, fearing it would take too much time, unless they lose important documents like passport.

The District 1 police division recently said they are investigating some employees at Ben Thanh night market suspected to be members of robbery gangs targeting foreign tourists.

“They learned the patrol schedule of the police and tipped their accomplices to rob whenever there is no patrol,” a police official said.

Police also said some male robbers dress as female sex workers, especially in the westerners’ backpacker quarter on Pham Ngu Lao Street, to steal the property of tourists and to confuse police investigations.

According to many hotel owners, a lack of security has slowed down the increase in tourism growth recently.

“Most tourists want to go for a walk at night. But it doesn’t take long when some women follow. Just a quick chat is enough for them to steal a phone,” said Dang Huy Hai, deputy general director of the New World Saigon Hotel.

“If the situation remains the same, no tourist feels of being safe when coming here,” he said.

Tao Van Nghe, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Association, said the hotels are actually victims of robberies due to the reduction in the number of guests.

“Many people may misunderstand that our room rate is high. Actually, it is lower than many other countries. But it is the robberies targeting tourists that is chasing tourists away from the city’s hotels,” he said.

In the first half of 2013, Vietnam has seen 3.5 million international arrivals. Whilst Vietnam has succeeded in maintaining the uptrend seen since 2010, the increase is much lower than the increases seen in neighbouring countries. Also the number only accounts for 48.9  percent of the target of 7.5 million international visitors for 2013, implying that more effort needs to be made to complete the mission, according to the report.

The increase in the number of international arrivals coming to Vietnam has slowed down over recent years, from 32 percent in 2010 to only 2.6 percent in 2013.

It hailed a recent plan to set up establish tourism police in cities receiving more than one million visitors a year and said Vietnam needs to have an intensive marketing strategy with a consistent focus, to create a strong brand, and to increase the budget for destination marketing.

At a meeting on October 15 to review security in Ho Chi Minh City, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he was not happy with figures about crimes in the city.

“The National Assembly’s coming session is expected to discuss much about how we tackle crimes, especially robberies and petty thieves in this city.

“The safety of people is just as important as economic growth. We have to fight [against crimes],” he said.

Phuc said that if police are not able to protect against criminals, Ho Chi Minh City will become a “criminal hub.”

According to a report by city police, there were 5,109 crimes in the city so far this year, an increase of 144 cases year on year. Police raided 687 criminal gangs and arrested 1,629 criminals in total. Phuc said local residents and tourists do not feel safe when looking at the statistics.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Petty theft and a general feeling of insecurity is increasingly disrupting Vietnam’s appeal for tourists. According to Ho Chi Minh City police official, robberies targeting foreign tourists in the city downtown have not receded despite many efforts by law enforcement, Thanh Nien News reported.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

HCMC touristsPetty theft and a general feeling of insecurity is increasingly disrupting Vietnam’s appeal for tourists. According to Ho Chi Minh City police official, robberies targeting foreign tourists in the city downtown have not receded despite many efforts by law enforcement, Thanh Nien News reported.

Pickpockets, bag snatchers and motorbike robbers are the biggest reason for annoyances. However, according to the police, many foreign tourists only spend a few days in the city and they do not report being robbed, fearing it would take too much time, unless they lose important documents like passport.

The District 1 police division recently said they are investigating some employees at Ben Thanh night market suspected to be members of robbery gangs targeting foreign tourists.

“They learned the patrol schedule of the police and tipped their accomplices to rob whenever there is no patrol,” a police official said.

Police also said some male robbers dress as female sex workers, especially in the westerners’ backpacker quarter on Pham Ngu Lao Street, to steal the property of tourists and to confuse police investigations.

According to many hotel owners, a lack of security has slowed down the increase in tourism growth recently.

“Most tourists want to go for a walk at night. But it doesn’t take long when some women follow. Just a quick chat is enough for them to steal a phone,” said Dang Huy Hai, deputy general director of the New World Saigon Hotel.

“If the situation remains the same, no tourist feels of being safe when coming here,” he said.

Tao Van Nghe, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Hotel Association, said the hotels are actually victims of robberies due to the reduction in the number of guests.

“Many people may misunderstand that our room rate is high. Actually, it is lower than many other countries. But it is the robberies targeting tourists that is chasing tourists away from the city’s hotels,” he said.

In the first half of 2013, Vietnam has seen 3.5 million international arrivals. Whilst Vietnam has succeeded in maintaining the uptrend seen since 2010, the increase is much lower than the increases seen in neighbouring countries. Also the number only accounts for 48.9  percent of the target of 7.5 million international visitors for 2013, implying that more effort needs to be made to complete the mission, according to the report.

The increase in the number of international arrivals coming to Vietnam has slowed down over recent years, from 32 percent in 2010 to only 2.6 percent in 2013.

It hailed a recent plan to set up establish tourism police in cities receiving more than one million visitors a year and said Vietnam needs to have an intensive marketing strategy with a consistent focus, to create a strong brand, and to increase the budget for destination marketing.

At a meeting on October 15 to review security in Ho Chi Minh City, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he was not happy with figures about crimes in the city.

“The National Assembly’s coming session is expected to discuss much about how we tackle crimes, especially robberies and petty thieves in this city.

“The safety of people is just as important as economic growth. We have to fight [against crimes],” he said.

Phuc said that if police are not able to protect against criminals, Ho Chi Minh City will become a “criminal hub.”

According to a report by city police, there were 5,109 crimes in the city so far this year, an increase of 144 cases year on year. Police raided 687 criminal gangs and arrested 1,629 criminals in total. Phuc said local residents and tourists do not feel safe when looking at the statistics.

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