Hotel staffs in the red-light districts have often become reluctant witnesses to tricks and traps set up by prostitutes to rob or steal money and other assets from their male clients.
Usually, a client who appears loaded enough with money will fall victim to their traps, with the aid from other male gangsters who are also their pimps.
Part 1: “Red light” districts in Ho Chi Minh City
Part 2: Street prostitutes cum robbers
NVD fell into one of such traps on July 5.
After leaving a wedding party in Hoc Mon District after having a few drinks, NVD picked a street girl on his way home on national highway 22 near An Suong Bus Station. They agreed on a ‘happy deal’ of VND200,000 (US$10) for an hour of fun.
After NVD had paid VND50,000 ($2.5) for a room in a nearby motel, the girl changed her mind and insisted on raising her ‘labor cost’ to VND500,000. While he was trying to cut a bargain with her, she abruptly left the room.
NVD rushed out after her only to run into three rough-looking men waiting outside who punched him in the face and asked him to pay VND500,000 if he did not want to be beaten up.
After taking VND500,000 from him, they further demanded that he pay another VND200,000 to cover for their fuel cost to get to the motel. Not wishing to risk his life, NVD bitterly complied with the request.
In the face of these incidents, hotel staffs often choose to stay out as they do not want to get involved in fights and fear retaliations from gangsters.
Nguyen Van Hoa, a staff of a hotel at Phu Lam round-about, said he has seen many men rushing out of their hotel rooms to chase after the girls who have stolen their pockets while they are in the restroom.
In another case, a male client stood helpless under the threat of a knife, to see the prostitute taking away his wallets after warning him she would not give him back his ID should he report to the police.
Drunken men have also fallen prey to these crimes after being lured into hotel rooms, Hoa added.
A security staff in District 5’s Ward 9 said he was reported of a case in which a man was robbed of VND10 million after picking a street girl and following her into a hotel room. The poor man did not know he was walking into an ambush -- a pimp had been lying in wait for his victim under the bed -- until it was too late.
“I was helpless to do anything to help him,” the security man admitted.
Report by District 6 police department shows that 17 prostitutes in Phu Lam round-about have been arrested this year for cheating and stealing.
“It was clearly just the tip of the whole hidden iceberg as many male victims were ashamed and didn’t report the incidents to police,” said Pham Van Nho, chief of a police unit in district 6.
Investigation by Tuoi Tre showed that most street prostitutes in those red-light areas work under the protection of pimps and have to pay them for their protection services.
When a disguised Tuoi Tre (female) journalist was standing in Hoa Binh Park on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, a mama-san in her middle age approached her and suggested, “You can come here to work at night. I can take care of you, for both food and protection, but you have to pay me half of your earnings.”
“Initially, you just stand here under my protection. After a while I will rent a motorbike for you to ride around to look for clients,” she added.
At Phu Lam round-about, a pimp named Tung bluntly told the disguised Tuoi Tre journalist, “If you don’t want to get a slash on your pretty face, follow me. I’ll give you protection.
“If you discover some fat game [wealthy men], tell me and we’ll share the spoils.”