How much cash allowed out and into Vietnam

I was carrying £20,000 in GBP on me after a business settlement in China . I decided my best option to carry money home after going on a visit to Vietnam was to carry on my person.
Problem arose when i was stopped by customs security on the way out of Hanoi Airport and asked how  much cash i had on me. Thinking i did not have any problem telling them as i had proof with a withdrawal slip of the amount from a Chinese Bank. They produced a list of rules and pointing out my limit was around 5,000 USD ! Showing them the Bank withdrawal slip did not seem  to matter to them and read from another list of rules my rights. I was marched into a private room and was told id have a large fine of £4,000 GBP to pay ! Trying to explain that this did not seem fair as i did not know of this part of Vietnamese law ! One of the policemen said he would go easy on me as it was my first offence and said i would have to pay £2,000 GBP. I had no other option as i was told they had the right to take it all off me ! So reluctantly i agreed and had to part with the amount in total of £2,000 GBP.
I was just relieved to get out of there and on my way out the policeman stopped me and produced small form saying if i had filled it in with the amount and gave to customers or aircrew that i would have been able to hold on to all my money ?
They did not even offer me a receipt for the amount i paid ! but as i did not have a leg to stand on and rushing to catch a flight i had to accept !
So be warned ! Fill in that small white form and it seems there is no problem bringing money in and out of Vietnam.

A better tip is to do everything possible to avoid bringing large amounts of cash through a country where corruption/bribery is high throughout the ranks of the gov't.  What can you realistically do if they still ask you to pay a bribe?  They have all the leverage.

What i'm hoping to hear is professional advice as this only happened to me last week and still hoping ill  get advice on how to get my money back ! Or at least those that took it will be brought to justice

I was carrying £20,000 in GBP on me after a business settlement in China .

I wonder if you will attract alot of ladies   :D   :P
Its quite a bit of money to be travelling with.. please be careful in future.
Was it not possible to get it wired to your account?  :/

did you get the names of the people that took your money? Can go to their supervisor or someone higher up at the airport to report them.

All countries have a limit of what can be taken out. Do you have the names and numbers of the officers involved, if not you wont be able to do a thing about it.

Anyone bring in amount of money of more than USD5,000 equivalent into Vietnam without declaring it upon arrival on it purpose is really invite the trouble themselves when they try to exit the country. If declaration had been made with the purpose of temporary brought in and exit later with valid reason upon arrival such incident can be avoided when exit the country.

Luck of the Irish mate...

Your profile states you've been travelling for years, so I'd put that down to another learning experience.   It's fairly common knowledge among regular business travellers the limits on carrying cash, gold , expensive shiny things etc.

Just a hint.  Always produce a smart phone and activate voice recorder. It's legal here to do that.   Just tell "anyone" that wears a uniform that prior to entering any discussion you HAVE to  sight & record the details of their IDs.  Thats the law in any country.      Tell them that your lawyers will want to know whom they are to contact to sort it out.

If they refuse.....just sit back and pretend to make a call.  Just say I'm sitting here talking to Law enforcement people who want a bribe and won't provide ID?        Then sit back , fold your arms and just smile & wait.     It's surprising how often that "bluff" works.   

Customs have numbers to ring that deal with corrupt incidents at airports here.
Try these.    988315858.     &  925267777
Hope their still current.

I've got them in my phone , but never had to use them.

I could have got it wired to my account but my contact in China refused to do so in case the transaction went wrong and in his opinion  often happens in China. So that was why i decided best to carry the cash on my person. My mistake i did not read up on the laws in Vietnam  carrying cash into the country ?

Sadly i did not get their names as i  was late for my flight ?

sadly i did not get their names ?

Thanks for your advice on this matter and certainly will try this if there will be a next time ! But as you say it's my first experience of this and yes i agree a costly learning experience which i've took on board  for the foreseeable future.

You know for sure, here is not the Western World and therefore the law games do not apply. Get to Cambodia with two separate bags as your luggage.Hide safely the bulk money in one of the bags and lock it with a padlock. Put it into luggage cabin of the bus and carry with a hand luggage and a show money of about $3000 with you. Don't tell them about your other bag. You should stay in Cambodia for about a week and nearly everyday you send the maximum amount to your country by Western Union in bits.That is to say, divide the money into about 6 portions and send them daily. Cross check from your country if the money has arrived to the person or receiver before leaving Cambodia.Avoid bad situations because it is a closed system.
Good luck

Good tip, BUT....
If your country  has a FATCA law like in the USA, they can track your deposits, because all banks and financial institution (like Western Union, or any Money Transfer services) must report to the US gov. for any suspicion transactions (multiple small amount transactions) to a same address/person. In fact, a former US Rep. get caught, by paying $9,999 (under $10K to avoid bank report) regularly to a man he abused decades ago. This caught the attention of IRS, and now in jail for it. Best is NOT bring too much cash, AND Gold too, or just fill out the form to declare the money/gold you bring in, then you can bring out whatever remained. I known a person, who bring in 10 tales of 24k gold in order to buy house in VN, but didn't find any good deal so he carried it to the airport. The lesson has cost him "only" 2 tales of gold  as "penalty".

What an expensive lesson. I am glad they did not confiscate all the funds and put you into jail.
live and learn.

Each individual, upon entry or exit through Vietnamese international border gates by valid passports, can carry cash up to USD5,000 (or other equivalent foreign currency) or VND5 million without the need to declare to the immigration office or customs office. The previous limits were USD7,000 and VND15 million.

It is a must for the individual to declare to the immigration office or customs office if the cash amount exceeds USD5,000 or VND5 million.

SimCityAT :

It is a must for the individual to declare to the immigration office or customs office if the cash amount exceeds USD5,000 or VND5 million.

I assume your numbers are correct but that is a huge discrepancy.  VND5 million is only about $US220.    The $5000 is set by international treaty but maybe it is a maximum and countries like Vietnam are allowed to set lower limits to protect their currency.  I can't imagine any scenarios where one would need VND outside of VN but a quick trip to the gold shop to get $$ would certainly be in order before leaving.

What a loss! Can't blame all on the police although the reputation is not good.

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