This article is about how to avoid paying unnecessary fines in Vietnam. I’m aiming to help you out if you are pulled over in Vietnam and accused of something that you shouldn’t be, usually in order for you to give up some money or something important like a drivers license or passport.
I’m currently traveling around Vietnam and was recently in a place called Mui Ne which is quite a famous resort destination right on the coast.
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During our time here, we hired mopeds. This is, by far the cheapest and easiest method of transport in this area.
On our last day, we were heading to check out some of the famous local sand dunes. We strangely got pulled over on the way, on the side of a random stretch of road by some not-so-official looking police officers.
They accused us of a whole number of things including speeding, riding with a passenger, speeding, riding without a valid driver’s licence and driving without possession of a valid driver’s licence.
The issue regarding the driver’s licence wasn’t a problem since it had all been previously sorted with the company that issued the moped. The moped was designed to carry a passenger and we were not speeding. They didn’t even have any equipment to check how fast we were actually going.
It also seemed a little odd that the only people that were pulled over (other than us) were two other foreign people. While we were waiting by the side of the road, countless Vietnamese mopeds and other vehicles were passing this “checkpoint” at speeds that were well above the speed limit and far exceeded how fast we were going.
All in all, we were facing a 4 million Vietnamese dong ($175) fine along with getting the bike taken off us and possibly my British driving licence being taken away from me as well.
This was quite an interesting experience and if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, don’t worry. It’s possible to get out of this situation without having to pay anything.
What to do
So if this happens to you, there’s some things to keep in mind and some things you can do to help yourself escape getting into an even stickier situation.
1. Don’t Panic
Unless you have done something really bad like running someone over, you shouldn’t really have anything to worry about. Just keep a level head and follow the other steps…
2. DO NOT Give Them Any Money
If they ask you for money, say you don’t have it and do not give any to them. At this point, you don’t even know why they’re asking you for it.
3. DO NOT Give Them Your Driver’s Licence, Passport or Other Forms of ID
They may say that they are going to confiscate your licence or something like that. Do not give them it, and…
4. Contact your Hotel or the Issuing Company of the Moped
It’s incredibly helpful if you have the contact information of someone working at your accommodation or for the company that issued the moped. They should be able to help you out.
In our case, the owner of the place we were staying came along and chatted to the police. About 10 minutes later, we were back on the road having not paid any fines.
Bonus: “I don’t understand.”
If the police don’t speak great English it can be a lot more difficult for them to charge you with anything if you don’t understand what they’re saying. Just tell them that you don’t follow and they’ll be kind of stuck.
It’s now quite funny looking back on this, and it makes for a story to tell, but trust me, this isn’t the nicest situation to find yourself in! Hopefully this won’t happen to you, but, if it does, it will help to know these things, as it could save you a lot of time, stress and money.
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