Vietnam banks increase protection for cash machines

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Commercial banks are applying additional safety measures to protect their automated teller machines following recent cases of theft in Ho Chi Minh City.

Le Huynh Ha, ATM service manager at Vietcombank, said his bank has decided to close all ATM kiosks at vunerable spots at around 10 p.m.

According to the bank's website, it has nearly 1,250 machines around the country.

Many other banks are also strengthening protection for their cash machines with some reducing the amount of cash they leave in each machine.

Industry sources say banks usually choose to set up ATM booths at places where they can install built-in cash drawers that cannot be seen from the outside.

However, as these locations are more expensive to rent, some banks have to use other spots as well, despite their vulnerability to theft.

There are around 9,000 ATMs in Vietnam, each able to hold at least VND800 million. At least five cash machines in Hanoi have been attacked by thieves so far, but all attempts have failed.

In Ho Chi Minh City, two ATMs were attacked in around a month and a total of more than VND2 billion taken.

The more recent case was discovered last Friday at an ATM booth of Techcombank in Tan Phu District.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, general director of Techcombank, said the cash safe of the ATM had been cut open by a welding machine.

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