|Changi International Airport in Sinagapore. The Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore has acknowledged that a number of Vietnamese, mostly women, have been rejected when they tried to enter the island nation. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore has acknowledged that a number of Vietnamese, mostly women, have been rejected when they tried to enter the island nation.
This surfaced on Wednesday when the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAA) demanded the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) explain why many Vietnamese women citizens had been given a hard time at Changi airport when they arrived.
The travellers were forced to return to Viet Nam on the next available flights without being given any explanations.
In a response to the Vietnamese Embassy's attempt to look into the issue, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) said that it had to tighten security on Vietnamese travellers, because there have been violations committed by Vietnamese in Singapore.
The second secretary at the Vietnamese Embassy, Nguyen Cong Huan, revealed this to the Viet Nam News Agency (VNA) on Thursday.
He said he had been told violators, though only a small percentage of the total number of Vietnamese travellers to Singapore, took advantage of 30-day visa-exemptions among ASEAN countries to revisit the island several times and commit wrongdoings.
ICA also claimed that Vietnamese women were found to use different passports. One woman had three passports showing different identities.
Stories about the situation flooded Vietnamese newspapers and the social media.
One 26-year-old girl in HCM City told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about a nightmarish travel to the island in late 2014.
"I was stopped at the immigration gate and was forced to enter an isolation room filled with about 20 other Vietnamese women," she said.
"I was later asked to explain my visit, my estimated time in Singapore, my return flight, the hotel I was going to stay, how much cash I carried and so on. Not until I gave them my fingerprints was I allowed to enter."
The ICA said Vietnamese tourists unable to give good reasons in English while they are visiting Singapore, even those with a criminal-free record, could be denied entry.
It said this not only applied to Vietnamese citizens, but also to citizens from the other ASEAN nations.
An airline on the Viet Nam-Singapore route told Tuoi Tre that it lost about VND15-16 billion (US$688,000-734,000) a year giving seats to Vietnamese women refused entry.
A spokesman from another airline said that once the Singaporean authorities deny entry, all the costs for those travellers during their time at the airport had to be covered by the airlines.
"The expenses for each traveller can be up to $150," he said, adding that his airline had to pay Singaporean authorities thousands of dollars a month. — VNS