Estonian fined for slapping woman’s buttocks in Saigon elevator

By Ngoc Mai   November 23, 2020 | 12:06 am PT
Police in HCMC slapped a fine of VND200,000 ($8.61) on an Estonian man for sexually harassing a female neighbor inside an apartment building elevator.

The punishment was meted out after the 36-year-old woman on Sunday filed a complaint with local police, accusing the 44-year-old Estonian man of slapping her posterior in the apartment building’s elevator in District 2, home to a large expat community.

At 8 p.m. on July 11, the woman encountered the Estonian inside the building elevator. Previously acquainted, the duo had engaged in conversation before, on exiting the elevator, the man had slapped her behind, dishing out an array of racial slurs to boot.

Camera footage shows an Estonian man slapping a woman's buttocks in an elevator of a HCMC's apartment building, July 11, 2020.

Demanding an apology, the woman's husband was met with further insults and threats of violence.

At the time, the victim was dissuaded from filing a report, believing that he would only receive a small fine. Unlike rape, harassment is not a criminal offense in Vietnam. It is often considered an administrative violation under the category "indecent speech and behavior," with fines ranging from VND100,000 to VND300,000.

But after she encountered the man inside the building several times afterward and felt worried every time, the woman decided to file a complaint against him to the police.

The man has apologized to her and pledged to leave the apartment building.

Sexual harassment is under-reported in Vietnam and has not been dealt with as a serious issue.

Last year, Vietnamese were outraged after a man was fined a mere $8 for forcibly kissing a woman in an elevator inside a Hanoi apartment building.

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