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HCM City insists on establishing tourist police force

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have urged the city police to launch a hotline connecting to emergency services to gather information about robberies as well as establish a tourist police unit to provide security for tourists.

A local tour guide accompanies a group of foreign tourists on a downtown
street in HCMC. Ensuring security for international visitors is
now a major concern for the city’s authorities.

Vice chairwoman of the city government Nguyen Thi Hong said in a statement issued after a meeting on protecting tourists that the establishment of a tourist police agency would help ensure safety for visitors to the city.

A year earlier, the city planned to set up tourism police teams to protect foreign visitors from robberies as practiced in neighboring countries but the plan has made no progress.

Security for international travelers is at stake as the number of robberies and swindles is on the rise. The situation has unnerved tourists and left a negative image on the city’s tourism sector.

So, district-level authorities in collaboration with local police and related agencies are in charge of addressing the existing situation.

There were 412 robberies and similar crimes happening to foreign tourists last year, HCMC’s department of Culture, Sports and Tourism cited statistics in a report conducted by the police.

In a meeting in HCMC last week, the HCMC Tourism Association complained that security for tourists was worsening.

At present, Voluntary Youth forces are responsible for instructing and protecting foreigners in downtown areas and major tourist sites, said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the city’s tourism department.

Around nine robberies happened in the city’s downtown area within half a month from end-September to early October last year, a tour operator reported.

Previously, several European travel firms have warned their Vietnamese counterparts that they had to provide higher-value insurance policies for international visitors to ward off risk of robbery.

The insurance payouts for tourists ranged from US$100,000-200,000 in the past but some firms are now recommending increasing the payouts up to US$1 million, said the director of a local travel agency.


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