Vietnam’s popular resort town shuts down Chinese scam stores

One of the 15 stores that has been shut down by Quang Ninh provincial authorities for being only open to Chinese customers and discriminate against Vietnamese locals and tourists. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong

These stores are only open to Chinese customers and discriminate against Vietnamese locals and tourists.

The popular resort town of Ha Long in the northern province of Quang Ninh has ordered 15 stores dedicated to scamming Chinese customers to close following a public backlash that prompted Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to step in.

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Power and water suppliers have also been told to cut services to these stores.

The town, home to the world-renowned Ha Long Bay, said the stores have failed to follow regulations at the Mong Cai Border Gate, the main entrance from China into the province.

The number of Chinese tourists arriving in Quang Ninh has unexpectedly soared since the Lunar New Year, and local authorities are worried that the increase is largely due to the return of Chinese-sponsored “$0 tours”, which are actually rip-off trips in disguise.

Once they arrive in Quang Ninh, the duration of their sightseeing tours is cut and tourists are led into a number of stores selling commodities listed at rip-off prices.

Commission is paid to the tour companies for bringing visitors to the shops, which reportedly are only open to Chinese customers and discriminate against Vietnamese locals and tourists, according to local residents in Quang Ninh.

Following media reports, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday ordered Quang Ninh authorities to launch investigations into those unscrupulous stores and take action against them.

Last year, a store suspected of serving only Chinese customers in Quang Ninh was fined VND500 million (US$22,000) for listing prices of goods in Chinese yuan and U.S. dollars.

The northern province welcomed 3.77 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017, up 12 percent over the same period last year. Of the figure, 1.23 million were foreign arrivals, up 4 percent.

-VNExpress

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