Vietnam resort town police vow crackdown on foreign tourists driving without licenses

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Traffic police fine a foreign tourist in Phan Thiet town

Binh Thuan authorities have promised to clamp down on those leasing motorbikes to foreigners without driving licenses following a rise in the number of accidents involving tourists in Phan Thiet.

"We consider security at tourist spots and tourists' safety priorities," said Nguyen Thanh Tam, deputy chairman of the province People's Committee, the local government.

"If households offering motorbikes for rent do not follow the law, we will slap fines or revoke their license."

The Phan Thiet traffic police reported 20 road accidents involving foreign tourists in the last three months, in which one person died and 11 others were injured.

On April 5, at around 8 p.m., Russian tourist Alexander Rusbliakh, 34, crashed into local man Huynh Thai Dung on Nguyen Thong Street.

Dung was rushed to hospital where he died.

Rusbliakh said he had hired the motorbike.

In another accident, a foreign man driving a scooter in Ham Tien Ward hit Nguyen Huu Nghi, who suffered multiple injuries and was taken to a hospital by passers-by.

The foreigner fled the scene and the police are looking for him.

Thanh Nien discovered that it is very easy for a foreign tourist to hire a motorbike in Phan Thiet and that the business is lucrative.

Nguyen Le Phuong of Ham Tien said he bought four motorbikes for VND125 million (US$5,970) to rent out.

At VND500,000 per day, he claimed to have recouped his investment in just seven months.

"Hiring a bike is very simple for foreign tourists," he said.

"They just have to say the name of the hotel or resort they are staying in and pay the rent upfront."

Lieutenant Colonel Dang Tran Duong, the traffic police chief of Phan Thiet, said the increasing number of foreign tourists is causing several security problems.

"Many tourists who do not fulfill the requirements for riding a motorbike are still able to hire one and drive around, threatening traffic safety.

"We will step up patrols in tourism areas and slap stiff fines on tourists flouting traffic laws."

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