HCM City returns to tourist protection force proposal yet again

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Chairman of HCM City Nguyen Thanh Phong has asked the Department of Tourism to again explore plans to establish a tourist protection force.

The city’s tourist department deputy head La Quoc Khanh said he had received diplomatic notes from South Korea, Australia, Japan and Taiwan reporting robberies of their citizens in Vietnam, including the theft of over 200 passports.

“They expressed concern about the increasing number of crimes in several districts and lack of co-operation from the agencies when working with tourists,” Khanh said.

According to Khanh, the job was assigned to 250 youth volunteers but they lacked training when it came to apprehending criminals. Tourists are also confused by the presence of so many personnel in the city from traffic police to local security teams to youth volunteers and regularly mistook them for tourist police. Khanh claimed this was why a tourist police force similar to those in Thailand or Laos was required.

HCM City at night (photo: Internet)

Last year, HCM City welcomed 4.6 million international visitors. “Despite the focus on encouraging high tourist numbers, the city doesn’t have a tourist police force,” he said. “The tourism department is obviously incapable of protecting tourists on our own.”

HCM City People’s Committee has tried to set up such a force several times. The most recent proposal was in August 2014, however, the politburo without a public reason for its decision refused to set up tourist protection force within or under the Ministry of Public Security.

Major General Phan Anh Minh, deputy head of HCM City police, said the politburo also issued a resolution on actually downsizing police numbers and the establishment of a tourist police team would be contradictory.

The deputy policy head rather strangely suggested law enforcement was not the responsibility of the police claiming and it was up to theprivate sector to pay for such services.

“The police is not the security team of any particular industry. Aviation security is mostly set up and managed by enterprises”. He added, “I’m not sure about Thailand and Laos, but in Cambodia, the tourist police force is also funded and managed by enterprises,” Minh claimed.

(Source: DTINews)

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