Authorities in the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa will seek directives from the Ministry of Public Security on how to deal with a group of Chinese tourists who wore T-shirts displaying an invalid ‘nine-dash line’ map when arriving at the local airport.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Quan, chief of the police unit at Cam Ranh International Airport, confirmed on Monday evening they were working with the provincial Department of Police to finalize a report of the case.
The complete report will be then submitted to the Ministry of Public Security for further solutions in accordance with the law, Quan added.
According to updates from the police division at the Cam Ranh airport, the group of about 40 Chinese tourists arrived at the airport at 8:30 pm on Sunday.
They were on a tour organized by Aladin Vietnam Travel and Trading Company, based in the beach city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province.
After the tourists completed immigration procedures at the airdrome and were about to get on a bus to Nha Trang, an employee of Aladin Vietnam discovered about 10 of the Chinese visitors were wearing white T-shirts with the map of China on the back.
All of these maps included the so-called 'nine-dash line,' a cow tongue-shaped imaginary line illegally created by China to claim its sovereignty over about 80 percent of the East Vietnam Sea, including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
“We asked them to get changed and seized all the T-shirts for submission to relevant authorities,” a representative of the travel company said.
“We have also compiled a report on the incident and provided the police with the tourists' personal information,” he added.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Xuan Diem, deputy chief of the airport’s police unit, the Chinese tourists were able to pass security and immigration officers without any trouble because they were wearing jackets at the time.
The illicit maps were only visible after they took off their jackets, Diem elaborated.