the rentabike guide
Dealing With the Police in Vietnam
The first thing to be said is that 99% of dealings between foreigners and the police are very positive ones. I think that the police here are fair and generally try to do the right thing by foreigners. It does seem, though, that the presence of a foreigner seems to slow things down, so when we have to deal with the police we usually let our local staff handle things.
It’s long been said that the police rarely stop foreigners and this remains true. However, police presence on Vietnam’s roads is increasing, as is the number of foreigners living and travelling here, so we do expect to start hearing about more foreign riders being stopped. Here are the main reasons why they might stop you, why you may have to speak with them:
- You parked in the wrong place.
- Your violated a traffic law.
- You lost your bike parking ticket.
- Your bike is lost or stolen
How to Deal With the Police Here Effectively
Here are our suggestions of what to do in each of the situations given above. Please don’t take these suggestions as hard and fast rules, though: every situation is different. One thing that’s always true when you’re dealing with the police here, though, is to always smile and be polite. As soon as you stop being friendly the walls come down and things become exponentially more difficult very quickly!
You Parked in the Wrong Place
If you parked in the wrong place and the police have taken your bike, call us, and tell us where you parked. We’ll be able to figure out where your bike is, and will arrange a time with you for us to go and get it back. This usually involves going to the police station and being fined, then going to another location and paying the fine, and, lastly, heading back to the police station and collecting the bike. This can take a while, but it’s usually a pretty painless process.
You Violated a Traffic Law
Nine times out of ten, you’ll get away with minor traffic violations, just as locals do. However, if the police do pull you over for something you’ll likely have to pay a fine. The official way to do this is for you to receive a ticket, leave your bike with the police who’ve taken your bike and head to their office to pay your fine, then return and collect your bike. In reality, you may find yourself paying your fine directly to the police officer who stopped you, who should pay the fine for you instead.
You Lost Your Bike Parking Ticket
If you lose the ticket you received when parking your bike in a bike park, you’ll usually need to just deal with the guards staffing it. In some cases, though, they’ll end us passing your bike to the police, which will mean we’ll have to then go with you to the police station with your bike’s registration papers, pay a small fine and collect your bike. Again, this is usually painless.
Your Bike is Lost or Stolen
If your bike is lost or stolen, it has to be reported to the police. (The chances of your bike then being found again and returned are, honestly, slim but we have known it to happen.) If you have to file a police report we’ll assist you in doing so. We’ll then require you to pay us the current value of your bike (rather than, say, the price it would cost new, as some unscrupulous rental companies do), and hand you the bike’s registration papers so that you can collect it, and keep it or sell it on, should it end up being found.