Police in Hanoi's Tay Ho District arrested a man on Friday accused of harassing women in the area, according to local media.
Local police started receiving sexual harassment reports from women, including many foreigners, in Tay Ho District in October 2016.
Phan Viet Anh is alleged to have grabbed victims' private parts when they were distracted. All incidents occurred around noon or in the evening in secluded areas, Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) newspaper reported.
With help from the victims' reports and CCTV, the investigators identified the culprit as Anh, a 30-year-old man often seen driving through the area where the incidents occurred on his orange motorbike.
Anh was summoned by the police on Thursday. At the station, he admitted to assaulting four foreign women. His first offense was in October 2016, followed by another three in November 2016, January 2017 and early April 2017.
After taking drugs, he would go in search of women, mostly Europeans, in deserted areas to perform the indecent acts. He mostly targeted foreigners because he was afraid Vietnamese victims would recognize him, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper.
Anh is currently unemployed and is a heavy drug addict. His criminal record includes causing public disorder and illegal possession of drugs, Tay Ho police reported.
Authorities are investigating whether Anh's victims include a group of three French women who reported a sexual assault in October 2016.
The women, who insisted on remaining anonymous, reported being assaulted by a man while they were driving to a bar on Au Co Street on their motorbikes. The man grabbed at their skirts and tops, tried to block off the alley and continued to chase them when they tried to escape, according to their reports.
Vietnam recognized sexual harassment as a violation of public order in 2007 when a government decree announced that "gestures, rude words, provocation, teasing and insulting the honor and dignity of others" should carry a maximum fine of about $15.
According to police, harassment cases can now carry a fine of up to $75, while sexual assaults can lead to criminal charges.