Many vendors in Ha Long Bay have sunk their boats to avoid being seized by authorities for harassing tourists.
Ha Long struggles to curb harassment of tourists
On January 3, the patrol guards in Ha Long caught a boat illegally approaching tour boats to sell goods. However, as soon as the authorities arrived, the owner wrecked his own boat and let it sink.
Le Trong Viet from the Ha Long Management Board said this was not the first case where a boat owner had destroyed their own property. They made a hole under the boat and they only have to pull the string to open the hole and turn off the pump.
The owners may return to salvage their goods later but the authorities cannot pull the boats over.
Vendor boats are banned from approaching tour boats to sell products after many tourists reported that they were overcharged for fake goods. The vendors are persistent and annoy the tourists until they buy something.
The vendor boats also co-operate with tour boat owners, tour guides or the tour boat captains to overcharge tourists.
Boat owners previously often operated in the area between Hai Phong and Quang Ninh province to run as fast as possible and they can afford another boat easily when one was seized.