Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 have fined five street vendors VND150,000 (nearly US$7) each for selling coconuts to foreign tourists at prices five to 20 times what locals pay.
Nguyen Vo Phuong Quynh, chairwoman of Ben Thanh Ward, said the vendors said they are migrants from the Mekong Delta and mostly sell their coconuts around the Independence Palace.
“We’ve asked them for a written commitment they will not repeat [it].
“Now there are no vendors following and harassing foreign tourists into buying coconuts around the palace.”
Tuoi Tre newspaper reported earlier this month that around 30 members of a family from the delta tried to sell coconuts to foreigners at high prices near the Independence Palace, War Remnants Museum, and the Ho Chi Minh City Museum.
They would target those who look confused, and charge them VND100,000-200,000, or $5-10, for a coconut, it claimed.
Quynh said her ward is trying to impose “strict penalties” to stop the problem of street vendors harassing tourists.
The problem is most common in the downtown area near the palace, war museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, and Ben Thanh Market.
Tourists can call a hotline at 08 39826371 to meet officials from District 1 for assistance if they have trouble with street vendors or for other security concerns.