HCMC to crack down on criminals targeting foreigners

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During a Thursday meeting, Ho Chi Minh City police announced new plans to protect foreigners from pickpocketing and bag snatching.

Major-General Nguyen Chi Thanh, director of the city police said the police will dispatch increased patrols to sensitive spots like intersections, bridges, and tunnels, VnExpress reported.

Thanh said police will make monitor traffic cameras to maintain closer watch over street crime.

Pairs of bag snatchers commonly drive up to foreign pedestrians on motorbikes and snatch their bags, which usually contain all the foreigners' money and personal papers.

Some tourists said they have lost everything after forgetting a bag in a taxi.

Last December, a young Chinese couple named Kit Kat and Leung Ka Kei Doris lost all their belongings when a passing motorist snatched their bag causing sympathetic locals to donate money.

Ultimately, the couple was assisted by the Chinese General Consulate in HCMC.

During the meeting, Thanh also touched on the use of official weapons during police pursuits.

"Agency policy does not prohibit the firing of warning shots," Hung said. "But then they cause chaos and frighten the residents."

General Nguyen Phi Hung, deputy head of the Criminal Police Department at the Ministry of Public Security, said that HCMC has become a hot spot for foreign visitors who know little about the city's street crime.

"Tour operators must inform foreign tourists about the tactics used by the city's petty thieves about how to protect themselves," Hung said.

He also instructed city officials to look into price management in street commerce, since many foreigners have complained about being ripped off and annoyed by street vendors.

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