Da Nang launches services to combat crime against tourists

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Tourists gather on a beach in Da Nang City. Six local agencies will collaborate with one another to combat crime against tourists.

Six agencies in the central city of Da Nang will collaborate with one another to handle accidents, robberies, fraud, rip-offs and nuisances reported by foreigners.

The moves came after a directive from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism requiring central level cities and provinces to implement interdepartmental collaborations and set up hotlines to support tourists and punish law breakers.

A Public Order Police Department will be put in place to punish anyone who disturbs public order and guarantee safety for tourists in Da Nang.

Da Nang's 115 Emergency Center will allocate teams to help tourists involved in accidents.

The local market management agency will handle cases in which traders rip off tourists.

The Transport Department's traffic inspectors will be in charge of traffic safety as well as public transport quality and price control.

The Aviation Security Center will ensure tourists' safety at the airport.

The Da Nang Visitor Center will help tourists contact authorities in the city.

Nguyen Trung Nghia, Da Nang Transport Department chief traffic inspector, said taxis in the city were "strictly controlled" but his office would run inspections to continue to prevent taxi fraud.

"We always want to build an image of Da Nang as a beautiful and safe tourism city to visitors," said Le Van Kiem, deputy director of the public order police department.

Kiem also announced the establishment of a hotline 05113. 893400 for tourists to contact for help. He pledged to be ready when needed.

Last year, local authorities launched several hotlines, including lines linked directly to the cell phone numbers of officials in the Police Department and Department of Foreign Affairs, for foreigners to report crime.

The Hanoi Taxi Association established two hotline numbers (04) 37710851 and (04) 38525252 for passengers to report problems after a local taxi driver was sacked and fined for demanding an Australian couple pay 10 times what the meter showed for a ride, according to a VnExpress report.

Rip-offs and tourist robberies are common issues in Vietnam and tourism authorities said the travel sector needs more help from local administrations to protect visitors from such occurrences.

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