The UK diplomatic mission in Vietnam has recently issued a warning to its citizens that the number of attacks on foreigners has increased dramatically in the capital city of Hanoi.
The warning posted by the British Embassy on its official Facebook page on Feb. 17 said it had noticed a sharp increase in the number of reports of attacks, including rape or sexual assault, that happens to foreigners in Hanoi.
There have been a number of reports of foreign women being victims of harassment or sexual assault, including groping or manipulation, according to a passage in the British Embassy warning.
“We take any reports of rape or sexual assaults seriously and handle them reliably. UK citizens can call to receive our assistance at any time, day or night,” the British Embassy offered reassurance, along with a contact phone number.
The diplomatic mission added that if the victims contact, the embassy would patiently listen, with sensitivity and non-judgment. “Anything you tell us is kept as confidential as possible. We can contact your family and friends if you wish,” said the British Embassy.
In addition, the embassy said it could also provide victims with information about the local police and medical procedures.
Under the British Embassy post, a person named Robyn KC shared information that most attacks occurred against women traveling together, or women with men, and even attack also happened to foreign men.
Another person named Orlando CR wrote that attacks were on the rise and some victims said there was no help to ensure that the Hanoi police actually took testimony, even if the victims try to make a direct report, with their own translator.
Orlando CR suggested that the British Embassy take more care and action after the incidents, such as sending embassy representatives to meet the Tay Ho district police, where many foreigners live, to discuss possible measures to make the area safer and bring perpetrators to justice.
“Up until now, the lack of strong enough action merely makes the perpetrators more cheeky and they felt reassured that the attacks on foreigners weren’t even investigated, let alone they are being punished,” Orlando CR expressed concern.
VOA tried to contact Hanoi City People’s Committee Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh to find out the government’s response to the British Embassy’s recommendation, but there was no response.
Representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the City Police Department also did not respond when VOA attempted to connect with them.
This is not the first time a foreign diplomatic mission has warned of foreigners being attacked in Vietnam.
As VOA reported, in late September 2020, the US Embassy in Hanoi and the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City issued warnings to US citizens about the possibility that they could be “sexually assaulted” when using unofficial passengers transportation services in Vietnam.
The US mission said they “had received reports of individuals being sexually assaulted by taxi or motorbike drivers who did not have companies’ logos,” but added at the time that it was “uncommon.”
According to VOA’s research, the press and governmental agencies at both local and central levels of Vietnam have not released statistics about attacks happening to foreigners in Hanoi in particular and around the country in general for a long time.