Ho Chi Minh City - crime rises steadily
Crime in biggest metropolis of Vietnam has grown steadily over the past years and continues to expand. Crimes such as theft and robbery as well others are not only more and more a problem for tourists and locals but also are new challenges for the state authorities.
Mr. and Ms. Doe (name changed by the editor) are annoyed because they were victims of a robbery in the morning near Ben Thanh Market in the city center of Saigon. Muggers have stolen their handbags with cell phone and camera, as well as 500 USD cash during a robbery. Then Mr. and Mrs. Doe have been waiting for an hour at a police station in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City to make a criminal complaint. Since Mr. and Mrs. Doe were unable to name witnesses, the local police did not accept their complaint.
But not only tourists and foreign visitors to the city are frustrated about such states. Also the Saigonese have increasingly afraid to leave their houses and feel insecure in town. Looters who wreak havoc all over the city are becoming more daring and more dangerous as well more professional. Most frequented areas for the increased number of criminals among others are the city traffic at bustling streets and markets or near ATMs as well abandoned houses or apartments and hotel rooms. Robbery usually occurs at dusk but more and more also at night and day times. Criminals act as couples or in groups and in a few cases also as single individuals. Many of the robbers are on the way with motorcycles to approach the victims quickly and unnoticed. From the surprised passers then are snatched handbags and cameras as well mobile phones or even jewelry. Then the robbers disappear just as quickly as they have appeared. According to statistics of the local police 7 to 8 of 10 detained offenders are drug consumers. Drug addiction had become a further large problem in Ho Chi Minh City in recent years.
A resident of the city commented about the reality as follows: "Thieves and robbers in Ho Chi Minh City disseminate alike fear among the locals and the foreign visitors. In the streets of Saigon it comes every day to robberies as well thefts and the number of criminal offenses is constantly increasing. Crimes like that got too often happen without radical prosecution by the governmental institutions. The situation becomes increasingly unbearable. Saigon is an attractive destination for tourists but if we cannot solve this bad actuality, in the future they will stay far away".
The warnings about robberies in Ho Chi Minh City are not new something. The foreign representatives from Australia, Korea, Japan and as well other countries in Vietnam reflect constantly the status of their citizens which lost passports and assets etc. in cases of robbery or theft. At their nonofficial statistics of 2015 are 83 cases happens to Japanese, 73 to Australians, 10 to Koreans and 80 to Taiwanese and Chinese. The victims of the robberies got help from the Vietnamese state authorities such as police only in a very few cases. The real number is many times higher because the victims only report the damage to their Diplomatic Missions in Vietnam when passports were stolen. A significant statistics at the police of Saigon about the cases of robbery and theft is unavailable because in many cases criminal complaints either are not been made or are not been accepted and registered at the responsible police departments.
The reports of Vietnamese Tourism Ministry said that the rate of to Vietnam returning tourists is recently very low. Mr. and Ms. Doe will be also counted in this group because there wasn’t any Vietnamese Government Authority who cares about their matter and not because they were robbed by Vietnamese criminals. It is however not only an insecurity of foreign tourists but also the local people. This becomes right now the identity as well the face of Ho Chi Minh City and the whole country. It does not matter how beautiful the country is or how kind some people are if visitors feel unsafe and be bothered. These tourists will never come back again and if they report stories same like those about Vietnam likewise their friends will never come here. So this is really a great failure by the Ministry of Internal Affairs which effect does to the tourism industry and the whole economic in Vietnam.
According to a report of the police in Ho Chi Minh City, there are monthly more than 1.000 robberies in the province. The police had clarified allegedly more than 700 of these cases and arrested about 1,030 suspects. Another report indicates that, in March 2016, the number of robberies in Ho Chi Minh City has increased by 15% to 20% over the previous month. Foreigners were the target of robberies in more than 100 cases. Nearly 60% of the cases occurred in the area of roads in District 2, which are heavily frequented by tourists. There were 109 more robberies in District 1 according to this report and in 55 of these cases the victims were tourists and expats.
The social networks are full of comments from visitors which said that Saigon is a city full of energy or very interesting and worth to explore. But many of them also vowed that they never will be return to Ho Chi Minh City or to Vietnam because the robberies. Other reasons for their decisions are theft of money, credit cards or passports as well scam and cheatings. Those who have not come to Vietnam in the past are expressed concern and said they would reconsider plans to explore Saigon. I think it is time that the Vietnamese government and the state authorities to reconsider their attitude towards crime. The responsible in the government departments should finally begin every kind of crime to take seriously and to punish all criminals in Vietnam rigorously. Otherwise in the future it maybe will be too late.
Silvia Huynh - for ITI-HOLIDAY