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Vietnam vows to probe tourist attack claim

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-16 07:06

Vietnam responded on Wednesday to demands from China to investigate allegations of a Chinese tourist being beaten by local border defense officers in the northern Vietnamese city of Mong Cai.

"Vietnam has received correspondence from China over the incident in Mong Cai. Vietnamese authorities are working to clarifying information and will handle the case in accordance with the nature of the incident," the department said.

The statement was released by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Consular Affairs during a news conference at which a reporter from Xinhua News Agency asked questions about Vietnam's response to the incident in Mong Cai, which borders China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

China's Foreign Ministry and the Chinese embassy in Hanoi had demanded Vietnamese authorities investigate allegations that the male tourist, identified only as Xie, suffered three broken ribs and multiple bruises in an assault on Tuesday last week.

Chinese media reported that Xie had been in Vietnam for a two-week wedding photo shoot and was traveling home with his fiancee and mother when he was handcuffed and beaten after hesitating over paying a tip.

His fiancee, identified as Ren, told Beijing Times that Xie paid more than 330 yuan ($50) to border officers upon entering Vietnam on Jan 25 and sought to consult a friend before paying additional fees. When walking outside to make a telephone call, "seven or eight Vietnamese border guards" pinned him down and beat him, Xie's fiancee said.

Xie's mother reportedly tried to intervene, but was restrained by another border guard, who confiscated their passports. Ren said that after her passport was stamped, she appealed for help from officers in Dongxing on the Chinese side of the border.

Xie was taken to a hospital in Dongxing, a city in Guangxi, after his fiancee asked for help from Chinese border security officials, according to the local government.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of Consular Affairs said in a statement on Saturday that it had lodged a formal complaint and called for Vietnam to take immediate measures to prevent such incidents.

However, China News Service reported on Saturday that Vietnamese officials in Mong Cai had denied beating the tourist, instead claiming Xie was injured when he fell while being chased.

An official at the Chinese embassy in Hanoi said on Sunday that Vietnamese authorities had launched an investigation, but were yet to make a formal conclusion.

Dun Jidong, marketing director at China Travel Service, said it is illegal for customs officers to demand a tip, but added that his agency has received similar complaints.

"Chinese tourists should protect themselves while abroad," Dun said, adding that people should remain calm, refuse any unreasonable demands, collect evidence and then report such cases to the Chinese embassy and local authorities.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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