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Hanoi cabbie arrested for fleecing Aussie tourists

Hanoi police said Monday they have arrested a taxi driver who allegedly forced an Australian couple to pay 10 times what the meter showed for a short ride through the capital city.

But the police did not reveal the name of the cabbie arrested, according to a report late Monday by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

On Sunday, David Patrick and Brandi Dawn Burmey reported to police they hailed a Trung Viet cab in front of the Vietnam Military History Museum on Dien Bien Phu Street and asked to be taken to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology on Nguyen Van Huyen Street.

At the end of the seven-kilometer ride, the meter displayed VND98,000, but the driver handed the couple a bill for VND980,000m, the Aussie couple said.

In addition, the bill indicated the cab belonged to the Mai Linh Taxi, not Trung Viet.


The couple took photos of the meter, the driver and the cab's license plate before paying the exorbitant fare.


They then showed the photos to employees at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and asked for help.


The employees reported the case to local police.


The couple came to Vietnam for their honeymoon.


A representative from Trung Viet told the press the company would sack the driver if the allegations are proven to be true.


The case represents the third reported crime committed against foreign tourists in Hanoi over the last week.


Last Thursday, staff members of a hotel threatened the lives of three French tourists who announced they were leaving after having been taken there by a taxi driver against their will.


After the tourists reported the incident to police, the hotel employees confessed, agreeing to pay VND10 million in compensation.


Hanoi police also fined a cyclo driver for charging another Australian tourist, Ilona Schultz, and her two children VND1.3 million, more than ten times the normal price, for a five-kilometer ride on April 23. The woman had agreed to a fare of VND70,000.


On Thursday, Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism visited Schultz to apologize and return the VND1.3 million.


Tuan pledged to tackle the problems foreign tourists have been encountering of late, which have tarnished Vietnam's reputation as a tourist destination.