Hanoi police on Saturday summoned two shoe shine men as they are verifying a media report about a shoe shine and repair scam targeting foreign tourists.
Pham Van Chung, 32, and Pham Van Quynh, 28, were identified as the shoe shine men who appeared in a video released by news website Zing earlier this week. In the video, Chung and Quynh forcefully took off the footwear of foreigners who were walking in the Old Quarter, spent a few minutes doing some minor fixes, and asked for pay.
Zing said these guys usually charged foreign tourists between VND200,000 (US$8.9) and VND1 million ($44.5) for the forced service.
At the police station, Quynh, from the northern province of Hung Yen, denied overcharging the customers, saying he often asked for VND100,000 ($4.5).
Meanwhile, Chung, from the central province of Thanh Hoa, apologized to foreign customers, claiming that he resorted to do “the wrong thing” because his family is very poor and his five-year-old daughter is suffered from a cerebral palsy.
Chung said he would quit the shoe shine job, return to his hometown and go fishing.
Tong Dang Cong, chief of crime investigation at Hoan Kiem District police department, said while the shoe shine and repair scam has existed for a long time, it is hard to deal with it because no foreign victims have reported this.
“Without a victim's report, it is difficult to punish these men,” he said.