Re: TAKEN FOR A RIDE (Issue No.86, May 20-26)

TN News

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I would like to congratulate Thanh Nien Weekly News for the excellent article on taxi cheats entitled: "Taken For A Ride."

Taxi cheats are not only prevalent in HCMC but also in Hanoi. Many Singapore tourists have complained about taxi cheats both in HCMC and Hanoi. Some complained that the meters used in the taxi are rigged so that high fares are charged despite short distances. One tourist was charged VND400,000 travelling from Sofitel Plaza Hotel to Hoan Kiem Lake. One Singapore businessman was charged VND3 million from Noi Bai to Sheraton Hotel. Singaporeans new to Hanoi trust the taxi meter-reading, so they do not know that they are cheated until much later. Then it becomes too late for them to complain. Those who have been cheated all have one thing to say: "I'll never come back to Vietnam."

I am writing this letter to highlight the increase of taxi cheats in both cities. Taxis are usually the first contact a foreigner has when they land in Vietnam. If the experience is bad, a negative impression will be imprinted for a long time. If no tough and quick action is taken, soon Vietnam will not only see a sharp decline in tourists, but also investors.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Wong

Ambassador of the Republic of

Singapore to Hanoi

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