Taxi Crimes Against Foreigners On the Rise in Vietnam

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 A Malaysian tourist reported to a popular taxi company in Saigon, Vietnam that she was overcharged for a short ride by a company taxi driver, but later it turned out she had ridden in an unlicensed taxi that imitated that company’s brand.

Rasniya Moho Rasid, a reporter for Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times, was forced to pay $194 for a four mile ride that should normally cost just $7.

Officials and volunteers of a state-owned company that helps foreigners at tourist spots say the incident marks increasing taxi crimes against foreigners.

On May 10, Rasniya had taken the taxi belonging to what she thought was a reputed firm, Mai Linh, from Ben Thanh Market to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

An investigation conducted after she complained to the company found that the taxi was an unlicensed one.

Rasniya said in complaint that she saw the “M. Taxi Group” logo on the taxi and assumed it belonged to the Mai Linh Taxi Co.

After driving her to Truong Son Street near the airport, the driver pulled over and asked Rasniya to pay $400 as taxi fees and 300 Malaysian ringgit ($98) as “fuel surcharges.”

The two started to fight; the driver finally agreed to charge her $194 and left.

Rasniya and her friends had to walk to the airport from there.

After Rasniya’s complaint, officials of the Mai Linh Taxi Company arrived at the Ben Thanh Market to investigate the incident and found that it was a fake taxi that imitated the company’s logo.

Rasniya is just one of many foreign tourists who are frequent victims of taxi scams in crowded Sai Gon.

Officials of the Mai Linh Taxi Co. said tourists should beware of illegal taxis that are imitating famous names by carefully observing drivers’ uniforms and logos as well as telephone numbers on the taxis.

The spots where most illegal taxis imitating the Mai Linh brand park include the Ben Thanh Market, Bach Dang Wharf and Notre Dame Cathedral, they said