Hanoi to oppress street vendors who target foreign tourists

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Hanoi tourism authorities have ordered police and district authorities to punish street vendors who rip off foreign tourists.

The city Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism also proposed harsher fines against  vendors for coercing tourists to buy their products or swindling foreigners out of their money.

"These vendors have cheated tourists right in downtown and have spoiled the reputation of Hanoi people and tourism in the eyes of international visitors," said a statement from the department.

Since 2008, Hanoi has enforced a ban against street venders on 62 streets.

The ban had initially been implemented successfully before a subsequent relaxing of surveillance saw the re-emergence of the issue, VnExpress reported.

In a recent investigation, Tien Phong detected several groups of vendors targeting, cheating or ripping off foreign tourists.

"Due to language barrier and trust from tourists, some have cheated them out of big money," the paper said.

On Ma Tay Street, two women often wait at the entrance of an ancient house that hosts Dao Xa musical performances.

They often coerce tourists to buy bracelets, hats, fans and handkerchiefs by placing them on tourists' bodies.

Some women with quang gánh (rattan basked shoulder poles) put them on the shoulders of tourists for them to take picture and then ask them to give them money even if they did not take any pictures. They are often found on Hang Be, Ma May and Hang Bac streets in the capital's old quarter.


Others just coerce tourists to buy everything from fruits to maps and some have even snatched money right out of tourists' wallets while they pay.

Taylor, an English tourist, quickly crossed the street after seeing an approaching lighter vendor. He told Tien Phong that his friends had warned him against street vendors when going around in Hanoi to avoid being ripped off or pick-pocketed.

He wore his backpack in front, saying it could help him avoid robbers and pickpockets.

Not only foreign tourists, but many local people have also been victimized by these people.

A tourist from the south said he had bought corn at a price five-fold higher than normal after not heeding his friends' warning about buying things in the old quarter.

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