Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi has denied accusations that its immigration officers forced a woman and her 2-year-old daughter to wait for more than an hour for a visa after she refused to pay bribes.
According to an emotional Facebook post that has been shared by hundreds of thousands, the overseas Vietnamese and her daughter were returning to Vietnam for the Lunar New Year holiday. The post claimed that the family had already applied for a visa online for the baby girl, a French passport holder.
When they arrived at the airport, an immigration officer allegedly asked the mother to give him some money "for a drink" to help her collect the visa immediately instead of waiting.
She chose to wait rather than "enable the greedy people," the post said, adding that many people agreed to pay bribes and did not have to wait.
She also compared France and Vietnam, saying that in France her small daughter would have been offered priority.
In a statement posted Tuesday on its official Facebook page, the airport rejected all those claims.
It said camera footage showed that the woman and her daughter only waited for 35 minutes, describing that as normal.
“We have not found any evidence showing that she was asked to pay extra money,” the airport said.
The airport's Facebook post is accompanied by a few photos. It said there is also a video but it is "too big to be uploaded."
Despite a photo showing that the girl was apparently sleeping next to a suitcase during the long wait, the airport said the girl could be seen running around. It said there were enough seats but the mother chose to let her daughter stay on the floor.
The airport also said it gives priority to children and elderly passengers, but suggested that Vietnamese parents learn from the Japanese and teach their children how to queue and be patient instead of always asking for priority access.
In its post, the airport also asked the public to hear the story from different sides before making any judgment.
A source from the airport told Thanh Nien that police will look into the case.
Noi Bai, which in October was ranked among the Top 30 Best Airports in Asia by airport-review website www.sleepinginairports.net, also received many complaints about airport employees demanding money from people getting shipments from abroad.
But its officials in November said it was scammers who demanded the money, not airport officers.