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Vietnam forum

Robbery stalking travelers in vietnam

Posted by 3raveler on 14/5/2011 at 17:25

Is vietnam a safe place to visit?

Even though my holiday to vietnam will be in six months time.
I have been reading the forum and i read some unpleasant things about vietnam.
Also i found this website talking about increase of robbery in vietnam.

Aside from taxi scams, traveler property robbery cases have been taking place in vietnam usually men riding a motorbike snatching a tourist bag.

On March 3, on the cross road of Pham Ngu Lao – Nguyen Thi Nghia streets in district 1 in HCM City, Anna Julia Urban, a German traveler, was walking on streets when two men, riding a motorbike, pressed against her and snatcher her bag.

Most recently, at the road junction of Dong Khoi – Mac Thi Buoi in District 1 of HCM City, Kanda Michiyo, a Japanese traveler was walking when two young men on a motorbike tried to snatch her bag. They unsuccessfully snatched the bag, but the woman fell into the road and was heavily injured.

Many travelers were robbed, even when they were sitting at shops or restaurants. On March 4, Toru Yamada, a Japanese traveler, was sitting at an Internet shop at No 38 Ton That Tung, when his bag with many valuable properties inside was snatched.
On February 10, when Shuichi Kitahara, also a Japanese traveler, was eating pho at a restaurant, a man came closer, snatched and ran. Local residents chased the robber and got back the bag, but the perpetrator escaped.

One month ago, Liu Rui Zeng and Yuan Mei Xia, Chinese travelers also had their handbag snatched when they were walking on Tran Quy Road in District 11.

The areas, where most of travelers had their properties robbed, are Ben Thanh market, the area around the War Remnants Museum or in front of the city’s Post Office.

Le Hoai Nhon, a worker of the traveler protection team, called “the green shirt team”, related that several days ago, he and his colleagues chased and caught a robber, who snatched a gold bracelet. The victim, a Thai traveler, said that when she came to HCM City for the first time, she also lost the mobile phone in a robbery case.

According to “green shirts”, robbers regularly snatch properties of travelers when they try to cross the roads and they have to pay attention to avoid traffic accidents.

#1 3raveler has been a member since 14/5/2011. Posts: 8

Posted by travellingsarah on 14/5/2011 at 19:24 TF writer

Even if there has been an increase, as far as I'm aware Vietnam is still one of the safest countries in Asia and at worst won't be any less safe than elsewhere in the region. Just don't carry too much money with you, wear a bag that goes over your head and keep alert.

#2 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 684

Posted by Tomhamish on 14/5/2011 at 19:48

I live in birmingham, England

last week i had to give a witness statement to the police after witnessing/ attempting to stop an assault, mugging and attempted car jacking on some poor girl who was on her own. But this incident wont be talked about on some internet travel forum (well it will now I've written it) because birmingham is not a huge travel destination and the girl was a local.

This kind of stuff happens all the time in every country and city in the world, sure some places are worse than others, and some places you hear about the bad stuff more often than in others.

as travellingsarah said keep you wits about you and don't take any unnecessary risks and you should be fine.

#3 Tomhamish has been a member since 19/4/2010. Posts: 21

Posted by daawgon on 15/5/2011 at 01:12

My opinion is that Saigon is the worst for crime - especially in the Pham Ngu Lao and other District 1 neighborhoods where tourists are known to stay. Nha Trang also has a crime problem. I have never had any issues at all in Hanoi, but it is not recommended to display any sort of wealth or for anyone to carry a purse or exposed bag in that city's weekend Night Market.

#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 1,159

Posted by Thomas922 on 15/5/2011 at 02:38

OP I think you have to look at the amount of travelers and the amount of crimes. It is still a good chance you won't be robbed if you take the proper precautions. I travel to NYC regularly and I have never been a victim there even during my 5 years of working in the city. Unless you are from a small town these crimes in a city like Saigon are par for the course.

#5 Thomas922 has been a member since 1/7/2007. Location: United States. Posts: 352

Posted by Rasheeed on 15/5/2011 at 13:01

Theft happens. Be smart. Not like me.


#6 Rasheeed has been a member since 4/11/2010. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 311

Posted by MsMalika on 19/5/2011 at 15:44

Havent traveled to Vietnam yet, but my other world travels have shown me that petty theft like this is common everywhere if you are leaving yourself as an open target in certain places.
Dont let the thought of this spoil your holiday!

#7 MsMalika has been a member since 19/5/2011. Posts: 7

Posted by 3raveler on 17/6/2011 at 17:02

Thank you very much for the comments. I will surely follow the advices given by the other posters.

#8 3raveler has been a member since 14/5/2011. Posts: 8

Posted by mikethediver on 17/6/2011 at 20:52

Just to add my input.
I have travelled 20 years around Asia and never had a problem....except HCMC.
It is, in my experience, far worse than Thailand, Cambodia etc etc.. Do not wear jewellery especially neck chains - you wont 't get to the end of the street with it!!!

Maybe I was just unlucky but in 20 years I of traveling I don't think so. HCMC has a serious drive & snatch crime problem

#9 mikethediver has been a member since 23/3/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 206

Posted by mikethediver on 17/6/2011 at 20:52

Just to add my input.
I have travelled 20 years around Asia and never had a problem....except HCMC.
It is, in my experience, far worse than Thailand, Cambodia etc etc.. Do not wear jewellery especially neck chains - you wont 't get to the end of the street with it!!!

Maybe I was just unlucky but in 20 years I of traveling I don't think so. HCMC has a serious drive & snatch crime problem

#10 mikethediver has been a member since 23/3/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 206

Posted by enigmatic on 19/6/2011 at 13:19

Vietnam's reputation as a crime hotspot seems pretty established - even girls working at a bus stop in rural Laos whose English was as limited as my Lao tried to warn me when I wandered 5 yards from my bag not to do the same when I was in Vietnam. Not that bag snatching doesn't go on in Vientiane, of course...

I've also watched a cyclo driver pickpocket a backpacker (who retrieved his wallet from where it had been hidden under the seat without issue and said it wasn't the first time he'd been lucky)

That said, petty theft happens anywhere and everywhere, and most people are fine.
Vietnam seems to polarise travellers' opinions but if you meet the right locals they're definitely not unfriendly.

#11 enigmatic has been a member since 14/4/2011. Posts: 84

Posted by kateemily on 29/6/2011 at 13:49

I just returned from HCMC and we had no issues at all. I was travelling with another female, we were staying around the corner from the Ben Thanh markets, we spent time at the night markets, and at the war remnants museum. I feel more scared walking the streets of Melbourne at night...

#12 kateemily has been a member since 7/4/2011. Posts: 12

Posted by joannemahoney on 29/6/2011 at 21:38

Crime happens everywhere. I travelled with my teenage children to Vietnam in January this year & felt very safe the whole time. You just have to be aware of your surroundings & be careful with your valuables - like you do in any major city. Don't 'advertise' your money, jewelery, camera etc & you should be fine. We live in Sydney & frankly felt more uncomfortable waiting for my sister to pick us up from the local railway station when we got home.

#13 joannemahoney has been a member since 16/6/2011. Posts: 7

Posted by 3raveler on 10/12/2011 at 06:45


#14 3raveler has been a member since 14/5/2011. Posts: 8

Posted by peuge on 11/12/2011 at 02:33

Put your valuables in neck pouch (don't know the real name of that thing, but I trust you understand) and carry it under your shirt. If you really need to carry more stuff, keep your purse tightly between your arm and body. Worked for my wife in Barcelona. The downside is that it's kinda tiresome to be alarmed all the time.

#15 peuge has been a member since 8/11/2011. Posts: 15

Posted by arialsabrina on 11/12/2011 at 03:00

Please be recommended you to keep your luggage and passport carefully before getting into this scam. However, Vietnam does rarely happen terrorist! I have known a story about my friends who travel to Vietnam then lost her passport, the people who picked her passport brought it to her Embassy in Vietnam. Once she has no choice, she came to her embassy in Vietnam for support. Luckily, she found her passport without difficulty. In this case, she is very lucky. The thing I want to say is that: No place is perfect! Please review other sides!
Best Regards,

#16 arialsabrina has been a member since 11/12/2011. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 2

Posted by altmtl on 11/12/2011 at 03:51

Regardless of the crime issues, I can't figure out why Vietnam is so popular lately.

#17 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003

Posted by jessieko on 27/1/2012 at 02:48

Dear Traveler,
Be aware the motobike bag snatching in SaiGon, doen't matter where you go. These guy are all over the place not only in District 1 .....I'm a vietnamese who know my own city not safe so I wear a bag across my body so to protect my valuables. On Jan-20-2012 while i waiting for a taxi. All of a sudden 2 guys on a moto-scooter snatched my bag and dragged me 2 meters. All my body was bleeding because of falling down. The sad thing about it, 3 sercurity in front of etown Tan Binh district in HCM city, They were too busy to chat with a girl. And they saw the whole thing but just stand there did not help. They are afraid of revenge. After it happend i ask why don't you help me their answere was not my problem. They even said to me, a few days ago in side Etown, 2 guys on a moto-scooter snatching the girl neckless. My question is: the sercurity know it happen alot why????? don't they warning us or put a sign up say becarefull.....
After it happen to me i am still feel sick on my stormach everyday. So be carefull guys.

#18 jessieko has been a member since 27/1/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by Patrick01 on 29/1/2012 at 13:16

I was rather paranoid after reading all the posts,and have backpacked through Asia for 25 years,prior to my visit, last week to Vietnam..I spent three weeks there and didn't feel particularly vulnerable.I kept the money in a passport holder in my trousers.I simply must have a shoulder bag to carry all the tourist stuff,one carries.Invested in a slashproof bag,with strap reinforced with metal(Pacsafe),that I wore with the strap over the opposite shoulder.At the wife's insistence,I left the expensive watch at home,left the huge SLR camera at home,went with a smaller digital camera.Wife left the diamond rings at home.Our phones don't work in Asia,so there was no temptation of an expensive I-phone.I saw plenty of people(frequently Russians or eastern europeans) with a lot of bling,including huge cameras.I assume the average bag snatcher,would be more attracted to them.We tended to stay in $45 hotel rooms,which have safes,and I'm sure the staff is instructed not to rip you off.Regardless,we locked up the suitcases when we went out for the day.I took an I-pad,but didn't take it from cafe to cafe.Cardinal rule anywhere in the world,is don't have all your important stuff in a bag,that you lay at your feet,whilst in a cafe.Take that bag to the toilet with you.Having said all that,the trip was quite pleasant,and alot of my worrying was for naught.The wife didn't read all the posts here,and on Thorn tree,so never got a chance for a good worry!We rarely took a taxi,so didn't get involved in that hassle.We usually arranged a pick up from our hotels at train stations/airports,so that stressor was removed as well.

#19 Patrick01 has been a member since 31/10/2011. Posts: 8

Posted by edysac on 17/2/2012 at 03:51

I bought Pacsafe slashproof bag with strap reinforced with metal. They are very expensive but its worth it.

#20 edysac has been a member since 17/2/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by surfer18 on 25/2/2012 at 19:33

On 25 Feb 2012, was walking on a side road off Ben Thanh market. While crossing the road two motorcycle press against us. I was in the middle. One of motorcycle snatch my pouch away. Was less then 1 second, speed off. Right in the middle of busy street.

All my traveling mood went south. Including out group's mood too. I feel Thailand is safer then Vietnam. The local says, this is very common to them.

This is my second time in HCMC. Previous stay was alright.

Of all my 8 years traveling in Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, China (major & minor City), Indonesia this is the first time I met snatch thieves.

#21 surfer18 has been a member since 25/2/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by noworries on 26/2/2012 at 03:13

We have been in HCMC for a few days after over a month in Thailand, a few days n Malaysia and Singapore. Two days ago my girlfriends camera was snatched from her camera pouch, that was around her neck that she was holding on to, by a guy on a motorbike.

We were walking on the path and the minute we stepped off it for a split second- boom, it happened in a flash! Nothing we could do. We had heard many stories about this stuff happening and thought we were being safe (no phones, wallet is on a chain attached to shorts, with minimum cash, no cards in it).

The only way to be safe in this place is not to bring anything of value out with you. It really isn't that safe here. We felt unsafe walking around before this happened and now even more so! We've had the taxi driver try to switch our notes saying we didnt give him the right change- as well as his dodgy meter that made the cost of our journey 4 x times more expensive than the same trip 2 hours before.
Also- last night walking back from a bar a few doors away, two girls on a moped approached me "wanting to talk with me" , I told them to get away but she wouldn't take no for answer- I just telling her I wasn't interested. Luckily I was at the front door of the hotel and the night porter arrived to open the gate just in time. One of our friends friends' who arrived here had the same thing happen except they took his iphone and wallet when he was leaving a bar.

I've never been robbed before in my life and I would consider myself fairly well able to look after myself. I have been in a fair amount of dodgy situations in my own city, Dublin and abroad (it happens everywhere) but HCMC is especially worse, there are people waiting to rob you EVERYWHERE in Pham Ngu Lao!! It has really spoilt our time here unfortunately. My girlfirend is very nervous walking around now, she feels extremely unsafe after everything and won't go out without me. If you're heading here or anywhere else in the city, be EXTRA vigilant.

Luckily, the staff in our hotel were very nice to us and took us to the police station and translated for us while we filled in a form for a police report. We had to stay on an extra day today to get it, but we finally got it today. I had heard there was a 'fee' for the report, but we didn't get charged. When we went to pick up our police report today for the insurance claim, there was a que of tourists, mainly Korean / Japanese, waiting to file a report. The officer who gave us our stamped report had two folders about one inch thick full of reports they had stamped for tourists. There must have been 200-300 forms in all! What does that say?
Only for the kindness of our hotel staff, we really would feel very horrible about this place- although, we won't be coming back to Vietnam, that's for sure. It's a real shame, but you can do no more than be glad you weren't hurt and enjoy the rest of your trip. Some of the locals are very friendly and it's a cool city, pity about the scrum that are continually trying to ruin it. Every tourist you meet here has a tale of being robbed or knowing someone that has been robbed. It's happening all the time, so be careful!

#22 noworries has been a member since 26/7/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by jessieko on 3/3/2012 at 22:29

Lets be honest to each other, the police are lazy and they afraid. If you been rob, you go to the police to report, they gave you a bunch of paper form to fill. Then when you ask them, Can you please help me catch the roberry and return my passport......or some doccument back. The answere to that is, the report just for record, plus we don't know how much money or value stuff in your bag is true even when you said ( i don't respect they found my value stuff or money back i just need my passport and ID back.) Plus I'm going to report right away after they snached my bag, and my arm still bleeding because of the bags snacher.
By the way, the website http://www.baomoi.com/Thanh-khan-nen-duoc-giam-an/104/7989945.epi is in Vietnamese if you can read it great. If not here the news about:
The roberry needs money to buy drugs so he drive motobike to rob people. When he got caught, he only go to jail for 6 years. Reason he told the jud I know what i'm done please forgive me. So The jud reduce his crime time to six years. And in the news even said: He use motobike as the weapon to rob very dangerous, plus he not rob a lot of people money so Jud reduce his jail time. What you guy think about that. If you been rob they just ask you to fill a bunch of useless paper as i know because the police do nothing a bout it.

#23 jessieko has been a member since 27/1/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by PeterW on 10/3/2012 at 04:50

Happened to me and a rugby player in Nah Trang. Fortunately he went beserk - decked the two blokes and rugby tackled the women. Money went everywhere. All I had to do was pick all the money off the floor. I still chuckle about it and it was a week ago! Other people did get robbed from ATMs though. In fairness to the robbers they're pretty good at it. Just don't get too pissed - we were targets.

Also nearly got pick-pocketed in a market in Siagon but I told her to **** off and she dissapeared into the crowd. Robberies happen in every place in the world. Don't let it put you off Vietnam - Its a great country.

#24 PeterW has been a member since 29/8/2011. Posts: 31

Posted by tyler on 10/3/2012 at 04:56

@altmlt - I hear ya! Only place I have ever been robbed. In Sapa - even stole my dirty clothes.

#25 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257

Posted by jessieko on 13/3/2012 at 20:44

I saw this on the Thanh Nien News about hotline police for foreigner.
200 policemen for a whole city???? and people on the street were laught at one man when he been robe at Tan Binh district??? OMG


#26 jessieko has been a member since 27/1/2012. Posts: 3

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