The police will tighten control security at crossroads, bridges and road tunnels, and expand patrols and raids to strengthen protecting foreigners from criminals, said the chief of the municipal police.
Major General Nguyen Chi Thanh, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department, made the statement at a May 10 conference to review the force’s performance in protecting foreign visitors from robbery in the city’s downtown.
As more and more foreigners visit the city, protecting them from criminals is a special concern and an important duty to local police, Colonel Nguyen Phi Hung, deputy chief of the Anti-Crime Police General Department under the Ministry of Public Security, told the conference.
"Travel companies must alert foreign tourists about the normal tricks and manners of robbers and snatchers and give them proper instructions to cope with thieves and save their belongings,” the official said.
He requested that local authorities devise plans to detect and crack down on gangs of robbers that targets foreign travelers.
Hung also asked city authorities to take measures to guard foreigners from overcharging by shops or eateries and from aggressive hawkers of miscellaneous items in the downtown area.
Major General Thanh said the city police would set up a network to follow suspects and people who have previous records to prevent them from committing crime right from the start.
Thanh ordered task forces to use the camera system of the city police’s Command Information Centre and the traffic camera system in their security observation activities in order to inform relevant police units about suspected criminals in good time.
He also asked all police officers to be more prudent in using weapons while chasing robbers in the city’s downtown. “Shooting in the air to stop criminals should be done only when it is necessary, since it may also cause chaos and unrest among the public.”
No need to form tourist police
Regarding the setting up of a tourist police force as suggested by the People’s Committee, Thanh said such a force is unnecessary.
The city first discussed this issue in 1990, but it has remained unfeasible so far, Thanh said.
“Travel companies must have a force to safeguard their customers, since the police cannot set up such a force and then assign it to go along with travelers to tourist sites, where relevant agencies are supposed to have plans to protect visitors,” he explained.
“Do not mention setting up a tourist police force any longer. It is the responsibility of the police to maintain general order and security.”
In the past four months, 18 criminal cases, including 14 robberies and snatches, three thefts and one swindle have occurred to foreigners, down by two compared to the same period last year.