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Police in southern Vietnam to probe fake buses that cheat, threaten passengers

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 17:19 GMT+7
Police in southern Vietnam to probe fake buses that cheat, threaten passengers
Hoa Mai Company has unveiled the new appearance of its buses to help passengers distinguish them from the bogus coaches.

Police in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have been directed to investigate those bogus buses that have been using the brand names of other transport companies to overcharge and threaten passengers.

If any sign of violation is spotted, individuals responsible will be severely punished in accordance with the law, Colonel Nguyen Thanh Hung, deputy chief of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Police, said.

Hoa Mai Tourism Service Company and Toan Thang Company, which are the two firms that offer transport services between Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh City, have been asking competent authorities to probe a case in which several bogus bus operators are allegedly using their brand names to trick, overcharge and even threaten passengers.

The two companies have received several complains and reports of passengers claiming that they were conned by the operators of the bogus buses and have worked with local authorities to deal with the situation for several times but no significant results have been yielded.

They have tried different methods, including changing their buses’ paint colors and sending employees to gather evidence, none of which have paid off.

The situation has existed in the past couple of years and inspectors have been assigned to probe it, said Tran Thuong Chi, deputy head of the provincial Department of Transport.

However, officials have not been able to pinpoint any violating vehicles as they usually manage to evade the inspectors, he added.

An inspector of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport said that his team had been working with traffic police to carry out inspections on major routes connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau, a beach city of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, but they have not identified any suspicious buses.

It is difficult to spot the fraudulent vehicles as the drivers often dodge the team’s checkpoints or travel on the less used routes, the inspector explained.

Authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau have confirmed that 20 buses that copied the trademarks of Hoa Mai and Toan Thang Company were registered in the province, of which only five are managed by local transport cooperatives while the rest are owned by individuals.

Investigations conducted by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport also showed that about 26 of the bogus buses are under the management of cooperatives in the city.

After receiving orders from authorities, some of the reported vehicles have been confiscated and the operators have been expelled from the group, said Nguyen Dang Tan Ai, vice director of Mien Dong (Eastern) Transport Cooperative.

These operators copied the appearance of Toan Thang and Hoa Mai buses due to the lack of passengers, Ho Van Huong, director of Thong Nhat Cooperative, explained, adding that the operators have been ordered not to repeat the wrongdoing or they will be forced to leave the organization.

Le Trung Quoc Tuan, Bao Linh Cooperative’s director, also said that he has requested his drivers to prepare reports on their illegal acts and change the paint colors of their vehicles back to the original shade.

Under the Vietnamese law on intellectual property, businesses that have their brand names counterfeited can require individuals concerned to publicly apologize, compensate or request punishment from competent authorities, according to Nguyen The Trach from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association.

The cooperatives that manage the offenders could also be held partly responsible, the lawyer added.     

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