Friday, August 28, 2009

Scams in Vietnam

Every country I dare say has its own scams, and Vietnam is no exception. A friend who visited Vietnam recently fell for a common scam in Saigon or Ho Chi Ming City (HCMC).

This friend had heard rumours of tourists being robbed by Vietnamese women while he was holidaying in HCMC. But still he was charmed by a Vietnamese lady, and succumbed to temptation. He followed her to an apartment.

His carnal exertions concluded, he took a shower. When he came out of the bathroom, he was surprised the lady had quietly vanished. On checking his wallet, he discovered his money had also done a similar vanishing act. Even more devastating was the loss of his gold neck chain.

"You could have been murdered," I said.

Another common scam also involves women. You fall for the charms of a Vietnamese woman thinking she's so sweet and innocent-looking. She suggests going to her place. Intoxicated with lust, you agree. You can't believe your luck, she's only 20 years old at the most, and you with your liver-spotted face and 60-year-old arthritic body.

Just as you are about to translate thoughts into action, there's a peremptory knock on the door. A Vietnamese man rushes in and accuses you angrily of messing around with his wife. He wants monetary compensation.

Your dream vanishes, and so does all the money in your wallet. POOF! Gone in 60 seconds!


  1. In Thailand, there is a scam infamously known as the Bangkok Gem Scam.

    Love, lust, deceit & money. Why leave his wallet and gold ring in the presence of a total stranger. That is silly.

    Well, I was charmed by a sweet talker to part away my RM200 late last year. I was actually waiting for an inter-city train at KL Sentral to Kedah. I was reading a book on the departure platform. This 40++ guy approached me and bombarded me with his 'problem'. From the conversation, I was 'convinced' that:

    a) He was robbed while sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur
    b) He is the new Citibank Regional Manager posted to Malaysia head office. He has in-depth knowledge about Citibank opration including the exact name of the BIG BOSS.
    c) He needed RM200 to book a hotel in Penang while waiting for his credit card to be reissued.
    d) He was holding a valid ticket to Butterworth.
    e) He gave his hand phone number to me and also asked for my banking account number for him to deposit back my money.

    Strange enough, the number given to me was valid. I waited for three weeks and called him again asking him to return my money. Later, I threatened to lodge a police report. It was a losing battle. End of day....nobody pick up my call anymore.

    I learnt my lesson...the hard way!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Alex. This will alert all travellers. With Google Search, information about most things is available. He could have approached his consulate/embassy for help. That he was persistent was also a clue that it was a scam. Offer to take him to the police and see his reaction. In JB, sometimes I am told the same story, "Oh, I have no money to return to Penang." Alex, you were kind enough to listen to his problems.

  3. Yes, it was silly to leave valuables and wallet around, but when carnal pleasures await, common sense deserts them.

    The Bangkok gem scam I think is still very much alive but thankfully they avoid a scruffy and povery-stricken backpacker like me. Perhaps, they think I might rob them!