police in hcmc

got pulled over by the police yesterday in hcmc. went down a non motorcycle lane accidently as im not that familiar with hcmc. i have a valid Vietnamese license. the policeman said 200,000 vnd or we take the bike. no ticket, nothing just the threat. i just want to say to whomever manages the police in this country that it is 2016 now. police corruption especially in a modern city like hcmc should be null and void but it is sadly something that still exists and even considered acceptable. Police under any circumstance should not be dealing with civilians on a cash basis as it is wrong on so many levels. please clean it up HCMC !!

It's a pathetic situation with that side of things here.   But you can , as I've done with results , use embarrassment to shame them anywhere and everywhere you can.

I've had issues , and wrote to the MInistry of Justice , Ministry of Tourism, Immigration dept, my own Embassy, the Vietnamese embassy back in your home country, the MEDIA in Australia , TripAdvisor, Travel Warning websites , Newspapers in neighbouring countries etc etc .  Just send the same email to all of them.  Shout it from the roof tops.

I actually got an apology from the ministry of tourism here......surprise.   I suppose when they see who else gets notified they may show some concern.

They don't realise the Internet can be used for purposes other than playing video games.    A lot of tourists are now becoming "travel journalists " and regularly report "scam" activities to the media .  I read several of these every week.   I've read several highly critical reports on Vietnam from Halong (plastic bag ) Bay to shoddy street venders in HCM. 

These reports don't help their tourism industry.   

BUT?..what it does do , is keep the place cheap & classless.   

And who are the ones benefitting from that?........Yogi and 100,000 expats living here for a song. 

So next time Panda,  thank those little green *** for keeping things cheap for us.   The more *** they throw, the cheaper the cost of living will get for us.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Moderated by Priscilla 6 months ago
Reason : bad language

yes, i think a major contributer to the police situation is the licensing of vehicles (or lack there of). that said everyone has an id card so electronic tickets could be introduced fairly easily one day as they will eventually put chips in the id's if not already. the tickets can then be issued via email, text or to a persons address. the police / local governments will eventually discover the revenue benefits of speed cameras so they will need to put an electronic system in for that to work.

I often wonder how things will develop here in the future.   The country seems to run on corruption.   No one wants to do anything unless they're getting coffee money.

The multi nationals will eventually scale their activitys back . Adidas in China have cut a million jobs.   The fourth industrial revolution will impact heavily on these countries .   Robotics is killing off jobs everywhere now.  Google YouTube..Kuka BMW for example. 

There won't be these industrial parks here having thousands of people sitting around sewing buttons on shirts and assembling phones.  The robots can , and are doing that cheaper back on the ground in western markets .

It's basically all assembly work here. Nothing is invented or created.  They can only make cheap copies that foreign importers won't touch anymore.

So when the big boy multi nationals scale it back,...they will also be scaling back those massive under the table bribes they pay to the ruling elite here  to do business with the cheap labour. 

Yogi would love to be a fly on the wall when that happens,,and it will.

The party will  be over for the "party".

You did wrong with a 'valid Vietnam driving license'  :)
They only give a receipt once you paid.
And what happened after that?

Noticed the comments from Yogi and Panda and I agree with your thoughts.For myself I have no motorbike driving licence as yet but travelling on a hire bike to the test centre in district 10 to practice every day but as you know the Vietnamese have no "Learner" status on the road so I cannot get insurance....which I am sure many thousands of foreigners are doing so also....and I am open to,police corruption
As for Yogi,s mention of corruption this does not take place at the test centre....I have tried( Vietnamese being spoken thru my wife)....it used to take place but no longer....if anyone is aware how to arrange a licence easily please with money changing hands...let me know...for its not the licence I am seeking instead it's the accident insurance that can be arranged on receipt of the moped licence.
I have already taken the moped driving test along with a group of foreigners of whom most failed but also noticed that nearly all the Vietnamese passed the test
I have thought to complain to whoever in government,in that this system  is actually encouraging foreigners to drive without a licence and at this time when the government has awakened to the thought of encouraging tourism and foreigners to live in the country that it should made easier for a expat to obtain a licence
Gareth Uk

if you have a motorbike licence or scooter licence in your home country you can have it transferred here for about $75. or i think you can get an international drivers license but they are only valid if you have the equivalent license back home. so failing all this you will need to sit the license test in Vietnam and get a valid Vietnamese license. they are not passing foreigners probably because it generates more revenue. and you are right, no license = no valid insurance when on the bike.

note when you transfer your license here your new Vietnamese license will have an expiry equivalent to the license you have at home.

I have never heard of or ever seen a "non motorcycle Lane" in HCMC! ... I see motorcycles drive down sidewalks (which I have swerved their handle bars towards the road much to the driver's displeasure), drive the wrong way down one-way streets, drive into shops, back out of shops, block shop entrances, conduct full-blown motor repairs on the sidewalk, drive up stairs, drive with newborn babies and pets, drive with 4 generations of family members, drive with goats & chickens, drive with reptiles, drive pulling gas cylinders behind them, drive using their phones or laptops, drive with no helmets, not stopping at signals, drive 3" at high speed from you, etc.

Nothing stops traffic though that a good cuff to the back of the helmet ... umbrellas (even on sunny days are good ideas) protectively positioned or pointed at a motorbiker's face are also useful. Sadly, I have had to elbow more idiots to the head or lean them into a post or a wall than I ever have playing ice hockey ... Fortunately, most 'locals' are not 6'4" and 220 lbs.

So, on the traffic fine of 200,000 VND (just under $9 USD), just pay the fine (unless your bike is worth less than $9!), take the cop'pers badge # and a quick quiet photo (in case you need it in the future), and drive on ... It will certainly be less painful and less embarrassing than a cuff upside the helmet assuming they are wearing one ...

Buddy is correct

There are two sides to the story of learning...   

..and (so far) no cure for stupidity...     :blink:

yes i normally get stopped every time i ride a scoot im hcmc and pay the bribe. im just saying for an international city which is fairly modern it is a terrible look.  embarassing,

Plus, it's the lead-up to the Tet holidays ... hey, how else will the cops boost their pre-holiday income ...

It will never change until the government stops talking about it and actually does something. Coppers driving new cars is a good place to start, on their small wages it's impossible to own a new car and the new house they just built, very good at economics I must say.

BuddyM :

I have never heard of or ever seen a "non motorcycle Lane" in HCMC! ...

Several of the overpasses that go over intersections are no motorcycle.  The same as the left lanes on a lot of bridges.

Gday Gareth,

I notice your main and valid concern is about the insurance issue.   That concerns me too. 
I've read in the media that VN is now recognising " international licences & permits".  But there's no detail in that article.     

Yogi reckons your big problem in the event of an accident will NOT be the license issue .   Your problem will be with those distinguished looking "gentlemen" carrying nice brief cases, sitting in cosy offices with the job title of InsuranceClaim Assessor. 

Those guys are not employed for what they CAN do , it's for what they won't do for you.    You'd be surprised at the high percentage of claim rejections in the industry.

Are you familiar with the term " hazardous pursuits".   A lot of policy's deem certain activities as hazardous and therefore are classified as exclusions on the policy document.   That's the only part of a policy document worth reading. 

As Buddy indicated above, the roads here have a notoriously bad reputation .   The bikes don't  have regular roadworthy assessments,  with a lot of us, the bikes probably registered to VN local.  I have no clue who owns mine, don't care either.   The road death toll here is around 12,000 a year...😬😬 but, that statistic is jigged. They only count the people who actually died on the road. If you still have a pulse and make it to hospital and die there , you ain't counted.    You died in a hospital bed .

To cut a long story short.   Yogi reckons if you did have an accident and submitted a claim they would probably say " you've gotta be f[at]ckin kidding".  The assessors are fully aware of the road conditions in Vietnam and would quickly highlight examples like Buddy indicated above and would say your knowingly endangering your life going on the roads here.

I've had 3 accidents this month alone.  Luckily all at low speeds, no serious injuries . 1 A drunk guy stepped in font of me,,,,, 2kids texting while driving on the wrong side of the road,,,,, 3 . a guy carrying 250 litres of water and 3 sacks of rice  overbalanced when swerving and ran into me..it's been fun.  I just smiled, what can you do anyway.   Screaming abuse doesn't work, they like the fact they've pissed you off , so Yogi just grits his teeth & growls.  They think I'm smiling, alls good.

Oh yeah..back to the long story short bit,😀 Read the policy document , especially the exclusions section.

Yogi makes a cup of Milo now.

i would suggest using insurance from your own country and make sure you tick motorcycle / moped riding and like Yogi sais read the fine print re the conditions.

There's a medical insurance policy here from Bao Viet that offers cover from $80 per ANNUM? ......And seems to cover everything. 😉 Yeah yeah.

There's an Aussie girl this year in the US that was hit  while crossing the road as a pedestrian by a car running a red light.    Medical bills at last count were $160,000 .

The travel insurance would NOT pay.     She'd been out to a restaurant in Las Vegas , had a few drinks and walked home.   The fact that she had alcohol in her blood was reason enough for the insurance company to deny the claim....even though the driver that ran the red light was at fault.

In the event of an accident here, insurance companies would have a long list of reasons to deny a claim.    Apart from the "circus" road conditions ,you've got NO annual road worthy safety checks on bikes, helmets that in most cases are "toys" and wouldn't meet any safety standards, the licensing issue is a worry, was there a BAC taken (blood alcohol content) at the time etc etc , plus we are foreigners, in a lot of collisions the locals will always say the stupid foreigner was at fault so he pays for all damage .
We're up against it mate. 

But that's life, keeps things interesting .    I think Yogi might have another cup of Milo , raining outside .  Good Milo weather.

Fully agree with Yogi

All you are proving(?) is your good intention

Even if?   ..you think you have it all covered..?

   It will not be.   

That is the prime motive of Insurance companies.

Prove me wrong   

Forget the fine print.   Read the (real) statistics.

hi Bazz,

Yep....I heard a very prominent Australian businessman once say
" insurance companies didn't get rich by writing cheques".

Spot on,

But I disagree with the party being over for them. They've collected their coffee money over the years, sent their children to be educated abroad where they have bought property in safe havens to stash their loot in case of a coup and they have to flee.

An inside source told me, the highest base salary for a traffic cop is $200 USD. Money from other sources (legitimate... :D) makes it around 500 USD a month. They make around 7000 USD a month in corruption money. And this is a reliable source from someone who's job is counting their pay. I've yet to meet an overseas Vietnamese students who's parents aren't police, teachers (Actually the worse type of corruption in Vietnam because they pretend to be educators) or civil servants (They have to pay 5000 USD to even pass the exam).

Corruption is what keeps the dogs loyal to the system. Without it, the police won't do the party's dirty work like kidnapping innocent protestors protecting their environment.

I'm sending my 18 month daughter to school this month. I was told the school fee is $1.8 million dong/mth. My wife's siblings said that doesn't include the corruption money for each teacher of my daughter.

So if I don't pay these teachers my daughter will be ignored? Is that how it works? lol

Is that the cost of private?

The reason teachers/lecturers are the most corrupt of them all is because it's the most subtle form of corruption in Vietnam which is hard to prove and get caught. Here's how the scam works, a teacher offers extra after class tuition for which parents have to pay extra fees. If they don't pay, they won't be getting into University. You can't prove the teacher is blackmailing parents because any idiot knows that kids who take on extra tuition get better grades right.

Then there is the outright paying for grades and places at the top university by students themselves. One person I know, his parents paid to get into a selective "gifted school", then paid for his place at University and then paid the 5000 usd for his job at a state bank... Agribank. He's thick as pig shit.

Then there's the innocent students caught up in this. My GF's story is that she once got banned from sitting an exam for playing with her phone during this famous lawyers/lecturers classes. That's a threat to defer her graduation by 1 year! Of course, 500k VND in a red packet fixed all her problems. The sob story is that this lecturer is retired and only receives a pension from the state so she teaches from the kindness of her heart. The truth is that these people pay for their jobs and she's there working for free so she can extort students.

Sad truth

Yeah mate , that's how it is. 
As phikachu said, teachers , Uni lecturers etc are on a very good "wicket".

I walked away from a girl here because the "school teachers"  wanted large sums of money for just doing what they already get paid to do.  They knew there was a foreign "schmuck" hanging around and it was a feeding frenzy.   

Once they know you'll bend over and pay up it will never end. It'll be money for this ,money for that ....so I said bye bye.   

As for the party being over, I understand what phikachu means, some have done very well, but it won't last at that level forever.   The economy here is fragile and fucked up.  Don't believe the spin.    The credit rating is BB- , highly speculative and when the multi nationals start scaling back and eventually dry out , what then ?
I know a guy here that lost a contract to export products to Australia, because he wasn't a multi national. They didn't want the product unless a "round eye" was on the production line every step of the way to ensure quality control.   Otherwise it's anyone's guess what you get when you open the shipping containers.
When they are on they're own, it will be tough for them.

The Chinese are building Dams on the Mekong , that will screw up the rice game and the fishing habitats.   That will hit hard.

It's a two speed economy here, the multi nationals do very well, but the wholly owned and operated VN operations are surviving on cooked balance sheets.  The banks are rooted as well.   

I suppose those creative little chaps up in Hanoi will balance the books by selling the farm to China.

Ah well, that's too much Milo for Yogi.   The sugar has kicked in and Yogi's on a rant.  😆😆😆

Plus , it's pissing down rain outside & Yogi is developing shack fever.  But Yogi is going to toddle off into it regardless.

But back to the rant. 

Don't you think it's pathetic ( in a lot of cases) when whatever task or job is given to someone , what's the first thing they think of. ??

Is it how good a job I can do.
Is it how can I add value for the customer
Is it how I can develop goodwill for my employer ...etc etc

NO........it's how can I rort it.

They immediately look for whatever angle to take or what they can use as leverage to gouge money from someone.   That does happen in a lot of countries, but it's endemic here.

And it will come back to bite them.

Yogi toddles off now ........whistling that song , what is it, Rain drops keep falling on my head....

Has Yogi gone the full cream boiled milk Milo,or just the boiling water with a splash of cow.

khanh44 :

I'm sending my 18 month daughter to school this month. I was told the school fee is $1.8 million dong/mth. My wife's siblings said that doesn't include the corruption money for each teacher of my daughter.

So if I don't pay these teachers my daughter will be ignored? Is that how it works? lol

My brothers ex-gf had to pay the teachers at the kindergarten extra money to stop them from hitting and ignoring her son, sad system.

Regarding my earlier post and some of your replies it I am thinking right now if it's bothering to put so much time and effort into passing the bike test to obtain a licence...and hence insurance.....especially now some of you have mentioned the insurance would not be worth the paper it's written on...please see my post a couple of days ago regarding health and accident insurance asking for any recommendations,thoughts advice
I  do not have a bike licence in the Uk so cannot arrange a transfer and would not thought that it would be a good idea to arrange insurance for the bike or myself through an Uk insurance company...that would be wide open to misinterpretions should I have an accident here...there is no way a Uk insurance company is going to pay out to get me put back together should a serious accident occur
It seems though from the posts on this thread and from other sources that bribery for a service or help is extremely common place and in fact can be arranged for anything....that being the case would anyone know how to arrange a bike licence in Hcmc with some money passing hands...make my life a lot easier !....it's doing my head at the bike test center!
Gareth Uk

phikachu :

Is that the cost of private?

yes private school (not to be confused with private nursery) and most expensive school in my area where I currently live. It's 5 days from 6:30am to 5pm. $70,000 extra for Saturday.

Reason it's 5 days when other schools are 6 days as told by my brother-in-law is because most of the kids are from government office workers that work only Monday to Friday.

Though I'm sure private in HCMC is 10 times more.

colinoscapee :

Has Yogi gone the full cream boiled milk Milo,or just the boiling water with a splash of cow.

Yogi is very creative.  Yogis Milo is a bit like a sand cement mix.

ie,  2.5 parts Milo, 1 part powder milk, level teaspoon of coffee ( just to give it a kick) .

Ya there Gareth.
Did you know those Honda cub 50s don't require a license.     Not many hills in Saigon & provided you haven't got a fat girlfriend you should be right.

Actually,, you don't see too many fat girlfriends do we...

They only seem to get fat after you marry them.  Keep them away from that wedding cake. 

What was the thread topic again....

Aha!   ..there's your problem, Yogi...

The ratio is (nearly) right, but a bit more coffee...

As everyone nose, coffee = creativity      :happy:

..but how did you get yer furry paws on MY recipe..???


My name is Bond ....Yogi Bond.   
They don't call me 007 for the fun of it Bazz.

The party won't end anytime soon. The Vietnamese or more specifically the Southern Vietnamese sorry to say it (because I'm southern Viet)  are wussy's.

They are all talk no action. Case in point the Vietnamese living overseas that are always negative towards Vietnam but never plan or been back to Vietnam to see any of the positive changes in Vietnam the last 40 years.

The Vietnamese don't want to help anyone but themselves. Selfish.

Vietnamese lack leadership. When shit hits the fan no one wants to take responsibility. They are all busy pointing fingers at each other.

And biggest obstacle they must overcome are their conservatism. They have a phobia of taking risk. No innovation. No forecasting just leave it up to a good day of work. Ever been to a beach? Yeah every foreigner has. All you see is whaling. They all sit fully clothed on the beach letting the waves gently slap them.

For the party to be over it will have to be internal within the party because the south lack balls throughout history.

What can the Vietnamese Diaspora do but call for change. At least they have the privilege to do this as now citizens of the free world without the fear of being arrested on trumped up charges like plotting against the state. Sure private free speech is tolerated but the moment you publicly open your mouth you're arrested. Not even arrested because they usually send in off duty plain clothes secret police to do you over first.

Remittance into Vietnam from the Vietnamese overseas is something like 6% of their national GDP. Money sent back to families, to open businesses and collectively for charitable projects. I know of one project where money was donated to build roads in a  small rural town. It took 7 years! as the money disappeared into the pockets of the fat pigs. It was only finished after another round of donations. It's a small town and I could have single handedly built that road myself in those 7 years, I visited it at various stages of it's development. The town's street lights, temple and soon a retirement home for the elderly was all funded by the Vietnamese overseas community as it's the local gov that doesn't give a shit about anyone but themselves. They only care about how to take their share of this charitable remittance.

For Yogi
Thanks for your thoughts on the bike subject but myself looking to do quite a bit of travelling on the bike,hence all my previous comments,so a 50cc cub would not fit the bill... but thanks for the info anyway
As for insurance for the 50cc I dare say your,and others,earlier comments regarding insurance companies desire not to pay up in the event of me braking a leg or otherwise in an accident,would  stand anyway now after thought.
As I slowly get around Hcmc on my 110 Honda I am passed by school kids on pedal bikes and others on 50cc,s so keeping it to a slow pace seems,probably,my best way forward but would still be interested in anyone with knowledge of production of a bribed motorbike licence...just arrived from Uk and old thoughts and habits die hard
Gareth Uk

http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-news/8376- … od-victims

They paid their 5000 usd into the system to become civil servants so they feel they have paid for their right to extort the people.

http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/4912/wann … ay-100-mln

About the Traffic Police, I've been informed form someone who knows....there's a few consecutive days each month that they go out in groups to do their busyness. Those check points... if you see one be extra careful for a few days. Any other day they are out on their own making money but during those few days they are aggressive for coffee money.

the Vietnamesse Diaspora need to learn how to pass the torch to the youths. Their ego gets the best of them.

What my private driver said when he got ticketed in Ho Chi Minh city was these random traffic spots are bought by the police for a month. And they have to ticket enough to recover the money they spent and the rest will be profit. That's why near the end of the month if they don't break even they aggressively ticket people more. But if they ticket a big shot official all their money spent on that spot would be gone.

My driver got ticketed for making a tight left turn that probably brushed the median paint line. Next time make wide left turns. 3 cars behind us also got ticketed. Since he knew some official in HCM city he got off lightly.

Some good stories here, quickly copying before this subversive thread disappears  :/

I just don't expect coddling and protection by government, or insurance companies, or consumer protection groups, or courts that protect my rights, anywhere in the 3rd world. I self insure just like the locals, will have to pay bribes and extortion like the locals ( sorry I don't use your euphemism "coffee money" ) and have to accept a system I can't change. Like, what do you do?

Fortunately I have a choice of country to live. I don't see any neighbors (except Singapore) with a better standard of living and less dangerous govt (PI, TH) near here.

@Charmavietnam I never saw that list of fines before. Changes my perception.  I won't complain so much of corruption the next time I have to pay 200.000 for not blinking (only once so far and my blinker was on dammit).  I won't know whether the money goes in khaki cops pocket or not, whatever, at least now I know it isn't just some arbitrary amount.

@yogi bond needs to get that accident magnet out of his aston martobike.

This traffic situation in VN reminds me of my time in Moscow Russia (actually Soviet Union at the time) when I would carry a $5 USD bill in my passport.

When stopped & asked on the roads by the traffic police with their magical white sticks - "your documents please" ("Ваши документы, пожалуйста") - all documents were 'in order' (minus the $5-spot!).

It was quick and simple - no fuss - no argument - no negotiation - no pain - followed by a smile, maybe a little chat about ice hockey, a quick & respectful salute and he moved me on to my destination. Some chats I even got to know by name after a few stops! LOL!

Call it an occasional toll charge ...

khanh44 :

I'm sending my 18 month daughter to school this month. I was told the school fee is $1.8 million dong/mth. My wife's siblings said that doesn't include the corruption money for each teacher of my daughter.

So if I don't pay these teachers my daughter will be ignored? Is that how it works? lol

Yes, in public schools... We run private school where parents don't need to give anything to teachers and teachers are not allowed to ask.
So many Viet think public schools are best.. have to pribe to get in, have to give money to teachers. And sure enough have to take childrens to teachers evening classes.. and pay for those..

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