Vietnam's authorities have ordered a travel company to report on the recent case regarding two of its clients who were arrested and fined for stealing luxury sunglasses at a shopping mall in Switzerland early this month.
“We were so sad to learn about the case. Vietnamese people who have high self-esteem all feel ashamed,” said Nguyen Van Tuan, director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
“Although this is a rare case, it will cause significant damage to Vietnam’s national image.”
The case happened on July 15 when two Vietnamese tourists, identified only as D. and P., were caught stealing three pairs of Gucci and LV sunglasses at a shopping mall in Zurich.
The sunglasses were worth more than 300 euros (US$328) each, local media in Vietnam reported.
The duo was released after paying fines of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,041) each. The tour guide reportedly had to borrow money from other tourists in their group to help pay the fines.
The group consisted of 29 retailers of a beverage company based in northern Vietnam, who were awarded a trip to France and Switzerland from July 9-17 for their good sales results.
Tuan said his agency will instruct tourism companies to advise their clients to strictly follow laws when going abroad and not to damage the national image.
Lawyer Nguyen Minh Tan, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Lawyer’s Association, said Vietnamese laws affect all Vietnamese residents who commit a crime, either in Vietnam or abroad.
However, Vietnamese laws stipulate that a crime cannot be punished twice and the two tourists will not face penalties in Vietnam again, he said.