Viet Nam News
PHÚ QUỐC — Last year, a photograph of a white woman meditating as she sat behind a pot of money on a Phú Quốc Island street caught the attention of Vietnamese Facebook users. Now, local authorities are trying to bring the Russian "begpacker" -- the term for tourists from developed countries who rely on handouts from locals to finance their travels -- to the Russian Consulate in HCM City after she attempted to use a hospital as a hotel room.
According to earlier media reports, the 25-year-old Russian woman, known only as Anastasia, brought her boyfriend to Phú Quốc General Hospital on October 15 to treat his injury after a fight with an owner of a guest house in the island.
After learning that the couple had no money, the hospital decided to waive the treatment fee and asked the boyfriend be discharged as his condition was minor. However, Anastasia asked for permission to stay longer in the hospital.
According to Trương Văn Hữu, acting director of the hospital, Anastasia insisted on sharing a room with other patients although she was offered a private room. During the couple’s stay in the hospital from October 16 to 23, they failed to maintain the sanitation of the room and caused inconvenience to other people. Although the boyfriend’s health condition had recovered, they refused to leave, forcing the hospital to ask the local police to intervene.
After leaving the hospital, Anastasia had a message translated into Vietnamese to ask for people’s help. The message reads: “They beat my husband. They robbed us. We need money for treatment, food and living. We are happy if you can help.” However, a printing shop refused to print it out on large-scale paper as she requested.
Speaking to Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper on Thursday, Văn Công Đấu, director of the Kiên Giang Province Department of Foreign Affairs, said the provincial police had worked with the department on this case. The department is waiting for an official document from the provincial police to work with the Russian Consulate General to bring the couple to HCM City.
Last year, after her begpacking photograph went viral, Anastasia told local police then that she had travelled to many Asian countries without money. At each place, she just stayed in tents and asked for local people’s money to cover the expense. — VNS