Cyclo drivers fleece Filipino tourists in Saigon

By Minh Minh   September 20, 2019 | 06:31 pm PT
Cyclo drivers fleece Filipino tourists in Saigon
Cyclo drivers Sam Van Dung (L) and Tran Quy Vinh at a HCMC police station for overcharging Filipino tourists. Photos courtesy of HCMC Police.
Two cyclo drivers have been detained for overcharging and attempting to rob two Filipino women in HCMC.

Sam Van Dung, 43, and Tran Quy Vinh, 47, will be investigated for "property appropriation" by the municipal police department, police said Friday.

The two visitors from the Philippines, Melannie Sabellano Carna, 35, and Marina Monina Surban Flores, 41, were taking a tour of District 1 in the afternoon of Monday when the incident happened.

The two women called two cyclos to take them from the Independence Palace in District 1 to some nearby touristic locations. A deal was reached for the tourists to pay the drivers VND150,000 ($6.5) each.

When the tour ended at the War Remnants Museum in District 3, Dung demanded that Flores to pay more, and she agreed to give him VND200,000.

Carna was asked for 10 times the agreed amount, and she refused to pay.

Vinh then snatched her purse to take the money himself, but his attempt failed.

Yet Vinh did not give up. He yelled at her and threatened her. Eventually, she had to give him the VND1.5 million ($65) he demanded.

The two women then reported the incident to the police.

The penalty for property appropriation, as regulated in Vietnam's Penal Code, is between one and 20 years in jail, depending on the value of the property and the damage caused by the act.

HCMC, the biggest city in Vietnam, is one of the nation’s top tourist destinations. It received 4.2 million foreign visitors in the first six months of this year, up 10 percent against the same period last year.

But street snatchings and rip-offs have been persistent problems.

Just over a month ago, cyclo driver Pham Van Dung, 49, was detained for seizing VND2.9 million ($125) from an elderly Japanese man after a five-minute ride in the city’s downtown.

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