|Photos posted on Facebook show the alleged request and immigration officer in question. Photos courtesy of Kugan Pillai's Facebook
HÀ NỘI — An airport immigration officer at Nội Bài International Airport (Hà Nội) has been put on administrative leave after allegedly asking a Singaporean visitor for 'tip', the Việt Nam Immigration Department announced on Thursday. The move came after they received a report from the Nội Bài Airport police.
Regarding the contents of the written report from the suspended officer, the representative of the Immigration Department said that the matter is in the verification stage, meaning no more information will be provided at this time.
However, the representative said stringent penalties could be expected if the alleged offence is proven.
On January 2, 2023, a Facebook user named Kugan Pillai, a Singaporean citizen, posted on his profile about an incident at Nội Bài Airport. The immigration officer was accused of having 'held hostage' his passport during departure document checks, in exchange for 'tip' money of VNĐ500,000 (US$21.30), along with photos of the officer and the note.
"I was at Hanoi's airport immigration departing to Singapore today when this immigration officer wrote "tips" on my air ticket. He was holding my passport and asking for it. I asked him for what but he just kept pointing to what he wrote. I didn't know what to do or whom to asked for help and I was also rushing for my flight," he wrote.
"I gave in to him in the end by giving VNĐ500,000. I have already informed Singapore's MFA about it. I know this may be normal in other countries but I feel that I was held hostage if I didn't give the money, I wouldn't get my passport chopped," he continued.
In the post, he tagged the pages of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Singapore Embassy in Hà Nội and the Consulate-General in HCM City.
So far, the post has received more than 10,000 shares and 18,000 interactions, and hundreds of comments. — VNS