Thieves, robbers and any other species of them...

I have a nice bad story and experience, which I want to talk about for a bit.

The story is started somewhere in December, when one guy tried to steal my phone, from my hands, not far from the way where I live in HCM.

I knew, around Christmas time and also Tet holiday time... a lots of robbers become more "hungry", actives and aggressives... especially during evening and foreigners are preferred targets for them.

I learned to be more carefully and to keep safe my phone and eventually handbag on the ways.

After this first incident.... maybe somewhere 3 weeks later, I stop to the corner of a quite small street, to check the direction of my way. So, I just open the phone, to look a bit for the way and eventually next place where to check again... when 2 guys on a motorbike approach to me and the guy from back grab my phone and tried to steal. I hold it tight, so... unsuccessful for him! The nice thing is they just stopped 3 meters from me, looking straight to me. I was looking to them few seconds ( unfortunately I wasn't inspired to take a picture of them)

So... the second attempt...

And now... actually the reason why I open this post.
Last Sunday, 21.06.2020. On Lê Trọng Tấn, Sơn Ký, Tân Phú, Hồ Chí Minh, around 1.30PM, after I cut my hair, I went to bring a coffee from a circle K, then I get out on the way back home... I had my handbag over shoulders on diagonal, and just checking the map, to see which bus can I take, when another similar story with these 2 from above was happening. 2 guys on a motorbike tried to steal my handbag.
The result was unsuccessful, but I fallen on the street, getting some bad injuries to my hands and arms!

So... if the first two incidents was happening around evening, when was quite dark and on a quite small streets, the third attempt was in afternoon 1.30pm... on a large street!

So... what should I expect next? :)

I love this country, but now seriously I started to think about safety!

Snatching of items is a problem in Saigon.

I knew, reading and watching YouTube stuff about these. But, honestly, I never expected to see this in the middle of the day on a large street! Now I just saw on myself how bad can be!

colinoscapee :

Snatching of items is a problem in Saigon.

More so in this climate when many people lost their sources of income.

Sorin.d :

I knew, around Christmas time and also Tet holiday time... a lots of robbers become more "hungry", actives and aggressives... especially during evening and foreigners are preferred targets for them.

Two weeks of Tet or 6 months of Covid-19, which one do you think created more damage to people's finance?

Sorin.d :

So... what should I expect next? :)

I love this country, but now seriously I started to think about safety!

What should you expect next?  Same thing as before.  Crime in Vietnam is not as high as in many countries around the world.  Bag/phone snatching takes up the large part of street crimes in most of Asia, some of Europe, most of South America, and a some tourist cities in North America.

First, travellers are advised to never check the phones while standing near curbside.  It's number 1 on the list of No-Nos, not just in this country but in all the destinations I mentioned above.

Second, when wearing a crossbody shoulder bag, the strap should be short, the bag should be next to the wearer's chest, not hanging down his side or behind his back, and never on the outside facing the street.  Look at how the locals wear their small crossbody bags and imitate them, I bet you'll feel much more secure overall.

Bag snatching is a crime of opportunity, thus removing the opportunity should reduce the chance for the crime to happen.

Sorin.d :

So... if the first two incidents was happening around evening, when was quite dark and on a quite small streets, the third attempt was in afternoon 1.30pm... on a large street!

Actually, 1:30 PM is the prime time for street crimes in Saigon because that's when people are at lunch or siesta, traffic is light, caution is down.  *All* the bank/ATM robberies in Saigon happened between 1:20 PM and 1:45 PM.  Ask any bank security personnel, they'll confirm that information.

colinoscapee :

Snatching of items is a problem in Saigon.

& has been for years

Old friend of mine Mr Dong is owner of 2 big & very popular Pho soup restaurants. Not a very handsome guy so he likes to show of his wealth to the ladies & everyone else for that matter wearing big lumps of gaudy yellow gold chains, rings & bracelets. One night going home on his moto from a party at Mr Hung's place pissed as a fart, two young guys on a faster moto snatched his necklace & he never saw it again he was very sad, rumor had it as worth more that 15k usd at the then gold price. :o
But hey in London or Paris or Rome, that necklace in full display & in the same circumstances would have been snatched too & he might have got a knife in the gut in the process!!

Sorin.d :

The result was unsuccessful, but I fallen on the street, getting some bad injuries to my hands and arms!

So... if the first two incidents was happening around evening, when was quite dark and on a quite small streets, the third attempt was in afternoon 1.30pm... on a large street!

So... what should I expect next? :)

I love this country, but now seriously I started to think about safety!

Sorry to hear about your injuries but at least you have thwarted the evil-doers thrice.

Maybe you are feeling a little paranoid now, but try to avoid that.  You should expect that the worst is over.

I have been lucky in Vietnam, but have had my phone snatched in Phnom Penh and a bag in Vientiane, Laos, plus one attempt there also.

Anyway, can you please briefly explain why you love Vietnam? Just curious...

JR23 :) thank you for your question and also for your story.
I came from Europe, my country history is quite similar with Vietnam history. I can understand them (not language) pretty well! I can find here many similarities with the communist time in my country. But also i can see a huge difference between my country communist time and actual Vietnam life!
No... maybe somebody's thinking I miss or I have some nostalgia about that time. Honestly isn't that. These are just observations.
So... I love Vietnamese food, the weather all over the country. Here is an amazing point, they have 2 seasons in South and 4 seasons in North... so, for me coming from a country with 4 seasons, this is very nice. Also, landscapes, countryside, waterfalls, the variety of fauna... old architecture... and many more. I don't like the aggression of some people... and I hope I
can deal with that, the disrespect of some of them against the foreigners and also the street sellers which try to cheat us, inflatingtheprice, when we want to buy something from them...

Thank everybody for you time and for you advices.
....and let's see how the future is going on :)

I'm positive and optimistic

Sorin.d :

JR23 :) thank you for your question and also for your story.
. I don't like the aggression of some people... and I hope I
can deal with that, the disrespect of some of them against the foreigners and also the street sellers which try to cheat us, inflatingtheprice, when we want to buy something from them...

But dont you see, if you are hanging out in touristy areas you are going to be pestered, ripped off  & see some aggression if you dont but anything. But living here if you play your cards right & get to know how to handle this behavior its really not a problem. For example when I moved here I lived in the sticks, very few if any  street sellers & defo none of the rip offs that you talk of. I was treated like a local. I used to try it on & get my wife to go to a shop & buy something & then I would go to the same shop & buy the same thing & 99% of the time it was the same price & in fact sometimes I actually got it cheaper, especially if it was a lady shop owner!!! 
Now I have lived in Vietnam 14 years & am pretty street wise & live in HCMC.......but no where near tourist areas or many ex pats for that matter & never ever see any of the negative things you are talking about. The rare occasions I do venture to district 1 to meet a friend for a beer, any street sellers that annoy me I have some fun with them for 5 minutes & then tell them to piss off (or words to that effect) I am talking to my friend. They then get upset, look to have hurt feelings but 2 minutes ignoring them they leave!
I have never encountered disrespect from Vietnamese as a foreigner, in fact the opposite. What little negativity I do get tends to be from Vietnamese men if I am out walking with my GF, but I am a fairly well built sort of fit looking old guy & most times much bigger than them & I dont take any shit from them much to my GF consternation sometimes cos she is totally non confrontational!!
So to conclude, get a set of balls, dont take no shit & when you go to all these beautiful places you mention here wear dark glasses to blank out all the plastic & trash & you'l be just fine :cool:

Oh I forgot to say the one time I did get ripped off financially here in Vietnam was by an expat I took pity on & he used to be a forum member!!

goodolboy :
Sorin.d :

JR23 :) thank you for your question and also for your story.
. I don't like the aggression of some people... and I hope I
can deal with that, the disrespect of some of them against the foreigners and also the street sellers which try to cheat us, inflatingtheprice, when we want to buy something from them...

But dont you see, if you are hanging out in touristy areas you are going to be pestered, ripped off  & see some aggression if you dont but anything. But living here if you play your cards right & get to know how to handle this behavior its really not a problem. For example when I moved here I lived in the sticks, very few if any  street sellers & defo none of the rip offs that you talk of. I was treated like a local. I used to try it on & get my wife to go to a shop & buy something & then I would go to the same shop & buy the same thing & 99% of the time it was the same price & in fact sometimes I actually got it cheaper, especially if it was a lady shop owner!!! 
Now I have lived in Vietnam 14 years & am pretty street wise & live in HCMC.......but no where near tourist areas or many ex pats for that matter & never ever see any of the negative things you are talking about. The rare occasions I do venture to district 1 to meet a friend for a beer, any street sellers that annoy me I have some fun with them for 5 minutes & then tell them to piss off (or words to that effect) I am talking to my friend. They then get upset, look to have hurt feelings but 2 minutes ignoring them they leave!
I have never encountered disrespect from Vietnamese as a foreigner, in fact the opposite. What little negativity I do get tends to be from Vietnamese men if I am out walking with my GF, but I am a fairly well built sort of fit looking old guy & most times much bigger than them & I dont take any shit from them much to my GF consternation sometimes cos she is totally non confrontational!!
So to conclude, get a set of balls, dont take no shit & when you go to all these beautiful places you mention here wear dark glasses to blank out all the plastic & trash & you'l be just fine :cool:

Oh I forgot to say the one time I did get ripped off financially here in Vietnam was by an expat I took pity on & he used to be a forum member!!

Hey, can you lend me some money, my AC is broken....lol.

Also.......Always look as though you have a purpose in what you do & where your going.  Scammers easily pick up on a person that looks lost.

Wear sunglasses when possible.....your eyes give you away , they can read you .  That’s why a lot of pro card players wear sunnies .

I waffle a few words in a language they won’t understand & politely keep moving.   If they can’t engage you in conversation, they’re done.

You could also try making a big sign that says “ The End is Near” and carry that around with you wearing a Toga & sandals.

There is only one way to keep robbers at bay and that is being vigilant. always wear your bag away from the road.if you hear any vehicle slow down behind you take caution.be prepared for the worst if you are in a place you feel insecure.too many gold and jewellry or gadjets simply makes you a target.be street savy. Take care.

Never stay in tourist place as an expat :-) .
Thailand/Cambodia are very safe for expat tourist. Vietnam is closer to what you have in Europe.
This being said like in Europe most of the trouble occurs in the tourist place. Tourists are the perfect target, they have most of their belonging with them and often cash.
Paris, Rome, UK are perfect places to get robbed :-) .

kianegon :

Paris, Rome, UK are perfect places to get robbed :-) .

I did a tour of Italy with my ex-wife 5 years ago.  We were on a group tour.  Getting off the bus at the Colesseum in Romme the tour guide reiterated yet again to keep belongings close.  It wasn't 5 minutes of getting off the bus and one guy got picked for his passort and wallet.  Tough way to start a vacation.

A fren fwd this whatsapp clip of three kids  fighting in vietnam like late at nite,street seems less conjested.i guess about 14-15 years old ,five feet tall or less and these three kids were attacking one guy with machete and they cut him multiple times.when the person who is recording went closer we can see its very deep cuts with his gut spilling out as he laid on the road but still alive.they hacked him and these were kids.absolutely scary.

Peter187 :

A fren fwd this whatsapp clip of three kids  fighting in vietnam like late at nite,street seems less conjested.i guess about 14-15 years old ,five feet tall or less and these three kids were attacking one guy with machete and they cut him multiple times.when the person who is recording went closer we can see its very deep cuts with his gut spilling out as he laid on the road but still alive.they hacked him and these were kids.absolutely scary.

Respect for other lifes isn't really that common. Most of that is "only" between locals and often has longer story attached. Whilst petty crime is very common, also to foreigners.
Overall, with a bit common sense and precautions, most would be avoidable.
I live in a neighborhood, which the police nicknames "social evil" and I have not been robbed or killed or whatever and I am neither scared, to come or go according to my schedule and plans.

There are crimes everywhere. Some with guns, some with knives, some with fists. The trend changes here in the US. Used to be car jacking  but these days, it's liquor store robbery and mailbox/package theft. I noticed the mailbox/package theft more before/during the holidays or around tax time. You just need to be aware and also being bigger than the locals doesn't hurt either. Start pumping them weights :-)

With 10 million new jobless because of the border closure, there will be more and more thieves in Vietnam.

qnbui :

There are crimes everywhere. Some with guns, some with knives, some with fists. The trend changes here in the US. Used to be car jacking  but these days, it's liquor store robbery and mailbox/package theft. I noticed the mailbox/package theft more before/during the holidays or around tax time. You just need to be aware and also being bigger than the locals doesn't hurt either. Start pumping them weights :-)

This all and similar can and does also happen in my area/district. A rough guess, I would say, about half of the hard core news  reported in local newspapers refer to my area.
My rules of thumb are, and I stick to it strictly:

- don't stick your nose into things, which look ugly - yes, I have been sitting patiently on my table already - nursing a broken beer glass, as 2 gangs did fight each other with swords and bigger alike things. That a number of maybe 40 people fighting. I moved my place, as they did chase outside each other
- don't play a hero, you have no chance to take the award
- don't dress up, above the level, people running around where you are
- don't carry anything in excess, like money, jewellery ... as really needed
- no long and wide sleeves covering your arms in "hot" areas
- forget your phone and/or carry on conversation, as when nothing happens, if something happens
- running away or trying to do so, I would not do so. There is always one on a bike doing a backup
- after the "show" is over, someone else outside the "party" will tell you, when/how you can/should go
- If I am ever to drunk, owners/staff will take me and the bike home
- if in doubt of any "danger" ahead, take a break on safe spot/business along the way (at least after some time, one should have a clue, where/what such places are)
That are my rules and they sure reduce also risks in other areas, which are not hard core.

As for myself, I am usually also accompanied by a black guy, a bit over 75 kg and with 88cm shoulder height, who stinks like a dog and can very well distinguish, when he needs to action. This also works well for any social distancing or being a priority customer inside a busy bank. Btw, I have more than just one dog - no, I not have them for security only, they are pets for me

FabriceVN :

With 10 million new jobless because of the border closure, there will be more and more thieves in Vietnam.

I would bet on that one is well

It's also much to do with how u look. Easy targets seem to get robbed .
I big dude, 6.3. 250 pounds covered in tattoos. is much less likely to get robbed than a little guy. And having street smarts is also a big key.
I remember sitting in a bar in Cambodia. Me and several expats. A whimsy guy walked iN crying he was robbed. Why me? The bartender looked at him and laughed.pointed around the bar at all of us, and said, if I was a robber who do u think I would rob? You or these guys?
You look like an easy target.

Canman62 :

It's also much to do with how u look. Easy targets seem to get robbed .
I big dude, 6.3. 250 pounds covered in tattoos. is much less likely to get robbed than a little guy. And having street smarts is also a big key.
I remember sitting in a bar in Cambodia. Me and several expats. A whimsy guy walked iN crying he was robbed. Why me? The bartender looked at him and laughed.pointed around the bar at all of us, and said, if I was a robber who do u think I would rob? You or these guys?
You look like an easy target.

Just don't expect a fair fight. Rules in Vietnam ain't one vs one, so physical size doesn't really matter, ones you are facing a bunch of people, who are after you. Weapons are also widely available, cheap and those who carry, are willing to use them without any hesitation.

Tiny_63 :
Canman62 :

It's also much to do with how u look. Easy targets seem to get robbed .
I big dude, 6.3. 250 pounds covered in tattoos. is much less likely to get robbed than a little guy. And having street smarts is also a big key.
I remember sitting in a bar in Cambodia. Me and several expats. A whimsy guy walked iN crying he was robbed. Why me? The bartender looked at him and laughed.pointed around the bar at all of us, and said, if I was a robber who do u think I would rob? You or these guys?
You look like an easy target.

Just don't expect a fair fight. Rules in Vietnam ain't one vs one, so physical size doesn't really matter, ones you are facing a bunch of people, who are after you. Weapons are also widely available, cheap and those who carry, are willing to use them without any hesitation.

Yeah, as soon as they see one local fighting a westerner they all pile in. A friend of mine who was 6 foot 5 was belted by three guys with pools cues many years back.

colinoscapee :
Tiny_63 :
Canman62 :

It's also much to do with how u look. Easy targets seem to get robbed .
I big dude, 6.3. 250 pounds covered in tattoos. is much less likely to get robbed than a little guy. And having street smarts is also a big key.
I remember sitting in a bar in Cambodia. Me and several expats. A whimsy guy walked iN crying he was robbed. Why me? The bartender looked at him and laughed.pointed around the bar at all of us, and said, if I was a robber who do u think I would rob? You or these guys?
You look like an easy target.

Just don't expect a fair fight. Rules in Vietnam ain't one vs one, so physical size doesn't really matter, ones you are facing a bunch of people, who are after you. Weapons are also widely available, cheap and those who carry, are willing to use them without any hesitation.

Yeah, as soon as they see one local fighting a westerner they all pile in. A friend of mine who was 6 foot 5 was belted by three guys with pools cues many years back.

I bet, they do. Seen plenty of fights, but never one vs one. 50 vs one is more likely. And I would never interfere.

Yes I have never seen a fair fight either, rule of thumb here is to never carry more than u can afford to lose. They won't be robbing me of much.

Looks can be deceiving .there are times when i come across big hairy tattoed guy who is more like tweety bird when something goes wrong or when its an unforseen circumstance and the skinny guy is superfast in taking charge and thinks on his feet to perform miracles that makes your day, you safe and sound.at all times Its better to keep a lot of unwanted lot at bay by wearing the right attire,looking more like the locals and dont take crap from people.i totally agree that at times you have to have balls to get things rolling.

What makes you think this doesn’t happen in other countries. I guess they are more desperate here. At least here punishment fits the crime. I realise that doesn’t make it right

Hangray47 :

What makes you think this doesn’t happen in other countries. I guess they are more desperate here. At least here punishment fits the crime. I realise that doesn’t make it right

Who said it doesnt happen in other countries?

Seeing as it's a forum about VN, what do you expect.

Hangray47 :

What makes you think this doesn’t happen in other countries. I guess they are more desperate here. At least here punishment fits the crime. I realise that doesn’t make it right

Some folks is always desperate, everywhere in the world. The only thing which makes Vietnam looking there different is in my opinion, that foreigners often skipped as target - as the police seems to chasing (more and harder) after culprits, to keep keep the Vietnamese image shiny.

Anyway, there is no warranty either, to become a victim and/or getting help if. There are also plenty of claims, that police works with the local low life together and extorts the foreigner once more.
It's just all a question of (bad) luck

Ciambella :
colinoscapee :

Snatching of items is a problem in Saigon.

More so in this climate when many people lost their sources of income.

Sorin.d :

I knew, around Christmas time and also Tet holiday time... a lots of robbers become more "hungry", actives and aggressives... especially during evening and foreigners are preferred targets for them.

Two weeks of Tet or 6 months of Covid-19, which one do you think created more damage to people's finance?

Sorin.d :

So... what should I expect next? :)

I love this country, but now seriously I started to think about safety!

What should you expect next?  Same thing as before.  Crime in Vietnam is not as high as in many countries around the world.  Bag/phone snatching takes up the large part of street crimes in most of Asia, some of Europe, most of South America, and a some tourist cities in North America.

First, travellers are advised to never check the phones while standing near curbside.  It's number 1 on the list of No-Nos, not just in this country but in all the destinations I mentioned above.

Second, when wearing a crossbody shoulder bag, the strap should be short, the bag should be next to the wearer's chest, not hanging down his side or behind his back, and never on the outside facing the street.  Look at how the locals wear their small crossbody bags and imitate them, I bet you'll feel much more secure overall.

Bag snatching is a crime of opportunity, thus removing the opportunity should reduce the chance for the crime to happen.

Sorin.d :

So... if the first two incidents was happening around evening, when was quite dark and on a quite small streets, the third attempt was in afternoon 1.30pm... on a large street!

Actually, 1:30 PM is the prime time for street crimes in Saigon because that's when people are at lunch or siesta, traffic is light, caution is down.  *All* the bank/ATM robberies in Saigon happened between 1:20 PM and 1:45 PM.  Ask any bank security personnel, they'll confirm that information.

I really doubt, that crime here (overall) in Vietnam is much less than  in any average country. It just comes in different disguise and if reported, that mainly only in the Vietnamese editions.
So we foreigners might be only aware of a very small percentage of the more extreme ones, who finally make it in the news AND are translated

Just saying

Hangray47 :

Just saying

What??  :huh:

OceanBeach92107 :
Hangray47 :

Just saying

What??  :huh:

Lol. He is speachless?

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