Hanoi punishes street vendors for harassing foreigners

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Police in a Hanoi district where many tourism sites are located have punished 130 street vendors, shoeshiners and beggars for harassing and ripping off foreign tourists since the beginning of this year.

A report on the Tien Phong news website Wednesday quoted Hoan Kiem District police as saying that 41 of the wrongdoers were busted between August 16 and 28 after local media reported the increasing harassment and cheating taking place in and around sites like the Old Quarter.

Since the arrestees did not deprive foreign tourists of their properties, they were kept in custody for 12 hours and fined for disturbing foreigners, causing public disorder, and not carrying ID cards with them, police said.

The district police also arrested eight others for robbing foreigners at the tourism areas.

Last month local media reported an increase in the number of cases of foreign tourists being harassed and ripped off in Hoan Kiem and Ba Dinh districts, which host several popular tourism sites.

Street vendors wearing the traditional conical hat and carrying a shoulder pole with two baskets at either end were seen placing them on tourists without their consent and inviting them to pose for photographs.


District authorities asked to curb tourist harassment in Hanoi

After the tourists had photographs taken, assuming the vendors were just being friendly, the latter would demand money for lending them the props.

Shoeshiners were found demanding exorbitant prices for their service from unsuspecting tourists.

Following the reports, the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism asked district authorities to tighten control and strictly punish people troubling and cheating visitors.

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