Saigon restaurant manager arrested for charging Australian tourist $30,000 for dinner

By Quoc Thang   June 29, 2017 | 07:18 pm PT
He has been accused of asking his staff to swipe the tourist’s credit cards several times.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday arrested the manager of a restaurant for deliberately overcharging an Australian tourist, forcing him to pay US$30,360 for a dinner.

Tran Tuan Minh, 22, who ran the NightFall restaurant in the downtown District 1, is being investigated for "using computer networks, telecommunications networks, Internet or digital devices to appropriate property." The restaurant, owned by Minh's sister, closed in October.

His arrest came months after the case first made headlines in local media.

John David Caracciolo, 45, reportedly had dinner with friends at the restaurant in August last year. When he paid the bill with a credit card, he was told there was a technical glitch and he had to use a second card.

After coming home several days later, he found out he was charged a total of $30,360 for the dinner.

He asked a friend in Vietnam to file a complaint.

Investigators found the dinner cost only VND20 million or less than $1,000. They said Minh instructed a staff member to swipe the cards multiple times. He then allegedly withdrew all the extra money from the bank later.

Minh returned the money in December and the tourist dropped the complaint.

But police decided to pursue the case, saying “the act was serious and has adversely affected the country’s image.”

Australians are among the biggest groups of tourists to Vietnam. Arrivals from Australia during the past six months increased 10 percent from a year ago, to more than 180,000. They are believed to be among the biggest spenders in Vietnam as well.

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