HCM City returns to tourist
protection force proposal yet again
Chairman of HCM City Nguyen
Thanh Phong has asked the Department of Tourism to again explore plans to
establish a tourist protection force.
Youth volunteers help protect
The city’s tourist department
deputy head La Quoc Khanh said he had received diplomatic notes from South
Korea, Australia, Japan and Taiwan reporting robberies of their citizens in
Vietnam, including the theft of over 200 passports.
"They expressed concern
about the increasing number of crimes in several districts and lack of
co-operation from the agencies when working with tourists," Khanh said.
According to Khanh, the job
was assigned to 250 youth volunteers but they lacked training when it came to
apprehending criminals. Tourists are also confused by the presence of so many
personnel in the city from traffic police to local security teams to youth
volunteers and regularly mistook them for tourist police. Khanh claimed this
was why a tourist police force similar to those in Thailand or Laos was
Last year, HCM City welcomed
4.6 million international visitors. "Despite the focus on encouraging
high tourist numbers, the city doesn't have a tourist police force," he
said. "The tourism department is obviously incapable of protecting
tourists on our own."
HCM City returns to tourist
protection force proposal
HCM City People's Committee has tried to set up such a force
several times. The most recent proposal was in August 2014, however, the
politburo without a public reason for its decision refused to set up tourist
protection force within or under the Ministry of Public Security.
Major General Phan Anh Minh,
deputy head of HCM City police, said the politburo also issued a resolution
on actually downsizing police numbers and the establishment of a tourist
police team would be contradictory.
The deputy policy head rather
strangely suggested law enforcement was not the responsibility of the police
claiming and it was up to the private sector to pay for such services.
"The police is not the
security team of any particular industry. Aviation security is mostly set up
and managed by enterprises”. He added, “I'm not sure about Thailand and Laos,
but in Cambodia, the tourist police force is also funded and managed by
enterprises," Minh claimed.
Minh said that according to
previous attempts, the police was only responsible for the training so that
not only would this force be able gave warnings to street vendors who try to
force their services on tourists, but could also intervene.
In the mean time, the police will draft regulations to deal with tourism
firms that fail to ensure tourist safety. The firms may have their licences
revoked or have their rights as passport guarantors limited if they fail to
report on crime incidents involving their customers.