Hanoi police investigate overcharges by shoeshine workers
VietNamNet Bridge – Police of Hoan Kiem District are investigating two shoeshine workers who are accused of overcharging and forcing foreign tourists.
The two shoe shiners.
According to the police, Pham Van Chung, 32, and Pham Van Quynh, 28, will be punished for disturbing public order.
The two men, who are from Thanh Hoa and Hung Yen provinces, forced foreign tourists in the Hanoi Old Quarter to use their services and overcharge them. Many tourists did not want to have their shoes polished, Chung and Quynh rushed to pull shoes and sandals from the feet of tourists and forced them to pay up to tens of US dollars/pair.
At the police office, the two men admitted their behavior.
Hoan Kiem district police said these men had been fined several times for the behavior of stalking and disturbing foreigners.
The police confirmed that they had operated alone and took advantage of the language barrier to overcharge tourists. Police agencies have not discovered any other links they may have.
Chung and Quynh were investigated after online newspapers reported and uploaded a video on shoeshiners’ overcharging and fraudulent acts against foreign tourists in the Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Avy, a tourist from Australia, was shocked when one person took off her sandals without her permission. She was charged VND900,000 ($40) for a little sewing. “I was extremely shocked as the cost, it’s more than I paid in Australia,” Avy said.
Helen, a tourist from Norway, was asked to pay VND500,000 for her shoes to be shined. “It was a really terrible experience,” she said.
Some of the shoe-shiners overcharge from VND300,000 up to VND1 million. Those who are good at bargaining charge less, around VND200,000.
Nguyen Thi Thuy, head of the Office for Culture and Society under Hanoi’s municipal government, said the city was determined to curb this rip-off culture as it badly affected the capital city and the country’s prestige.
Hanoi’s NA deputy Nguyen Thi An proposed that local authorities should immediately deal with the situation. “Such behaviour should face criminal penalties,” she said.
Lieutenant-colonel Nguyen Ngoc Linh, head of Hang Buom Ward police in Hoan Kiem District, said in addition to shoeshiners, street vendors were also disturbing and overcharging foreign tourists around the Old Quarter.
However, no tourists have made official complaints to the police because the prospects of filing a report with the police appears too complicated and time-consuming. They also do not know where to go to register a complaint.