What recourse is there for victims of crime in Vietnam?
Last night at about 4am I heard some noise outside my hotel window (tourist area, Chu Van An street) which turned out to be four Vietnamese guys attempting to mug an American woman.
What should you do in or after that situation here? A brave and handsome Carrot, I was ready to dash outside and do battle, but then I remembered how much I hate being stabbed, beaten and left for dead, which probably wouldn't have helped the girl much. As the old adage goes; 'more than one, bring a gun.' Unfortunately I was gun-less.
She managed to shake them off and slip away while I was mulling over the odds, but I'd be surprised if they weren't back out there again soon enough waiting for intoxicated victims to stagger out of the Brown Eyes bar that's open 'til the last one passes out' down the road.
Is there such a thing as the tourist police here (as they have in Thailand)? I spoke to a local motorbike taxi driver here this morning about the local constabulary and he said that they wouldn't have bothered to do anything about it, even if I'd suddenly learned to speak Vietnamese, had their phone number and called them (or just asked the guy sleeping at reception to do it).
The police are starting to take crimes against tourists a lot more seriously after some bad publicity in the last few months. But at 4am they're all drunk/asleep. And the "tourist police" are good at helping people cross the street, but not much more.
Getting involved in altercations with the Vietnamese, even if you're in the right, is not advisable. A couple of years back I intervened to stop a taxi driver beating up a FEMALE tourist after she refused to pay the inflated fare she was asking for. There were a lot of local guys hanging around watching the scene & laughing, including the security guards from a nearby apartment complex, & noone was helping her, so I waded in & pulled the driver off her & pushed him back to his taxi to give her time to escape. The rest of them started making very threatening noises towards me, like I was the aggressor, so after noting the driver's number I made a pretty sharp exit. I'd do it again but would make sure I had a clear escape route!
#3 ComeAndGoVietnam has been a member since 17/3/2009. Posts: 24
@Madmac - I would bet money she was dawdling back to her hostel after a few too many Huda bias at the humourously named "Brown Eyes" bar down the road that's open all night.
@Comengo - oops, my breakfast just arrived. Will have to post later...
@Comengo - (cont'd) I was almost in an altercation the minute I stepped off the bus in Hue. Some old motorbike driver took offense at me deciding to go with another guy and started swearing (in English) and telling me what a bad man I was. He also blocked my path and kept grabbing my arm.
Unlike the incident you witnessed though, this time the other Vietnamese guys helped out, pulling the curmudgeonly old fella off me and giving me a quick ride around the corner to get away from him.
In retrospect, wondering the streets alone at 4am as white female in a poor country was a pretty dopey move on her part, but still - no one deserves to be mugged.
I guess some people read all the "Vietnam is safe" stuff & get a bit complacent. It is safe, certainly a whole lot safer than the UK city I grew up in, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down 100%, especially in the small hours. I think it's safe to assume that, anywhere in the world, the kind of people who are out & about at 4am are generally best avoided!
#6 ComeAndGoVietnam has been a member since 17/3/2009. Posts: 24
I was in HCMC a couple of times last year, and I noticed as it got closer to the 'tourist season' there was a growing presence of Tourist Police. They were pleasent enough, spoke basic english, however i only noticed them around tourist places ( eg. Ben Thanh market, Bui Vien st).