The police to declare war against robbery in Saigon

 VietNamNet Bridge – The director of the Ho Chi Minh City Police Agency told VietNamNet, that in the near future, the police would be tough with robbery criminals targeting foreign tourists. Meanwhile, there are concerns that the slogan "HCM City – attractive, friendly and safe destination" will not be achieved if robbery on the street still threatens people and tourists.

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When the police "declare war" on robbers

To deal with robbery in Ho Chi Minh City, in mid-2011, the city authorities instructed the police agency to consider the establishment of the tourist police force.

For years, the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed that the city government set up a specialized force to quickly support and protect foreign tourists when they have problems, especially, to detect and handle acts of robbery, pickpocketing, etc. The department also proposed the voluntary youth forces to undertake this task.

The forces on duty to protect travelers in central Ho Chi Minh City.

According to VietNamNet’s survey, in some countries, the tourism police forces were established for a long time ago and this force positively contribute to the protection of travelers and protect the country's image. However, why has this project has not been implemented in Ho Chi Minh City?

Colonel Nguyen Phi Hung, Deputy General Director of the Crime Prevention Police Agency, Southern branch, said that this form of crime is a specific type, which affects diplomatic relations and the image of the country, so the police are unable to handle and settle it as the other conventional types of crime.

Therefore, the scheme to establish the tourist police forces is still put aside.

Many people said that the establishment of the tourist police force is necessary but costly to the budget and if it is set up, members of the forces must be police.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Thanh, director of the HCM City Police Agency, the establishment of the tourist police force is very difficult, even unnecessary.

He said that the city presently has a network of police and the task force team and district-level police can deal with robbery crime, with the assistance of “street knights.”

"In the coming time, the police will take strong measures against this type of crime against foreign tourists," the General said.

Accordingly, the task force will increase patrol at the places where have many tourists such as Pham Ngu Lao Street, the downtown are, tunnels or roads where robbery is rampant.

If the suspect is found, this force will quickly prevent them from committing robbery, rather than catching the crime in the act.

"For vulnerable and desperate criminals, Ho Chi Minh City police allow the task force to use weapons to suppress," Thanh stressed.

In addition to the police’s patrol, the coordination between the police with the voluntary forces and local government will be strengthened.

The police have also proposed to install more cameras on the roads in order to detect suspects and robberies.

Local people, visitors should be self-defense and vigilant

While the construction of a formal model for "street knights" is still a matter of discussion, HCM City police promise to take strong measures against robbery. This evil still happens every day, causing worries for tourists and travel companies based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Some guides of big travel firms in HCM City told VietNamNet that they did not like city tours because it is difficulties for them to protect tourists from robbery. If a foreign tourist is robbed, they will have to apologize to the victim on behalf of their company and have to bring the case to police.

Given tourist robbery, travel companies have taken the initiative to enhance their own protection force to protect tourists. However, robbery still occurs and even tourist guards are also robbed.

Doan Thi Thanh Tra, Head of Marketing - Travel Service of Saigontourist said: "Although it is not good at all--but when we welcome tourists at the airport, our guides always recommend tourists from staying away some black spots in HCM City where robbery is common. We also advise tourists to keep their valuable assets and personal documents at the hotel.”

For small groups of visitors, the guide is also the guard of tourists. For group of at least 50 members, Saigontourist asks for the assistance of police of volunteers to ensure safety for tourists.

Facing rising street robbery, the HCM City People's Committee has recently instructed relevant departments to strengthen security tasks, especially for tourists.

The city has also proposed the Ministry of Public Security to ask for the government’s approval for the establishment on a specialized task force in charge of tourism order and street crime.

Dam De - Nguyen Oanh