Foreign tourists enjoy a ride on a cyclo in HCM City. — Photo petrotimes.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City’s Department of Tourism has sent an inspection team to work with the inspectors of the city’s Department of Transport to clarify the alleged overcharging of an elderly Japanese tourist by a cyclo driver last Saturday.
Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, deputy director of the department, told the online newspaper plo.vn that after being informed of the incident, the department searched for the Japanese tourist to collect more information and evidence to handle the case.
Police of the District 1, where the rip-off occurred, sought the cyclo driver who allegedly overcharged the tourist. The cycle driver would have to return the money and face a fine for his act.
Oki Toshiyuki, 83, who lives in Tokyo, was visiting HCM City with his family. He was staying at a hotel on Tôn Đức Thắng Road.
Last Saturday, an unknown cyclo driver approached Toshiyuki and offered to take him back to the hotel from Bến Thành Market.
The cyclo driver forced the tourist to pay VNĐ2.9 million (US$125) for a 5-minute journey while the cost should have been about VNĐ100,000 ($4) per person per hour.
The Japanese tourist didn’t report the rip-off to the city’s authorities. However, his story on social media was widely shared.
Nguyễn Tri Đức, a lawyer from HCM City’s Bar Association, said under the current law, the cyclo driver could be fined between VNĐ1-3 million ($43-129) for ripping off the tourist. He would be forced to return the money he took from the Japanese man.
Hoa, deputy director of the department of tourism, said the rip-off has seriously affected the image and reputation of the country in general and HCM City alone, causing insecurity and suspicion among tourists.
Over the past several years, the department has co-ordinated with the city’s youth volunteers to guide and support tourists at crowded tourism sites in the city. However, the problem of overcharging hasn’t been solved completely.
In the first six months of this year, as many as 2,650 cases of tourists being hassled by taxi and cyclo drivers, beggars and street vendors have been reported.
The number last year was more than 8,000 cases. — VNS