Hanoi taxi driver fined for fleecing British tourist

By Phuong Son   November 6, 2019 | 04:31 pm PT
Hanoi taxi driver fined for fleecing British tourist
The digital taxi meter on the dashboard of cab in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Milkovasa.
An unregistered taxi driver was fined VND4.7 million ($202) and his driving license revoked for two months for ripping off a British visitor.

Dang Quoc Hung, 45, also had his car confiscated for a week for overcharging a British man 10 times the meter fee for a five-km ride.

On Monday, Hung drove John Hemery from Phung Hung Street in Hoan Kiem District to Daewoo Hotel on Kim Ma Street in Ba Dinh District.

While the meter read VND96,000 ($4), Hung asked the tourist to pay VND960,000 ($41).

While Hemery knew he was being overcharged, language barriers prevented him from standing his ground. He gave Hung VND800,000, but took a photo of the taxi number plate and informed his hotel of the incident. A complaint was filed with the local police.

At a meeting with transport inspectors on Wednesday, Hung admitted his mistake and returned the money that he had overcharged.

The cheating of tourists has been a problem in Vietnam for some time, affecting its reputation as a safe and friendly tourism destination.

A recent incident that captured headlines was that of cyclo driver Pham Van Dung charging an elderly Japanese man VND2.9 million ($125) for a five-minute ride in Saigon. He was arrested in August on charges of property appropriation. The normal cyclo rate in Saigon and other major cities is around VND100,000 ($4.3) per person per hour.

Also in August, an Indian tourist to Saigon was ripped off by a taxi driver who pretended to be an employee of a popular taxi company. The Indian was charged VND1.2 million ($52) for an eight-kilometer ride from Tan Son Nhat airport to the downtown District 1, which normally costs around VND150,000.

Last month two cyclo drivers were arrested for overcharging and attempting to rob two Filipino women in HCMC.

A recent World Bank report said cheating by tourism services and the lack of road safety are among the most negative experiences for international tourists to Vietnam.

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