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Russian ‘beggar woman’ returns to Vietnam, causes another scene

Thursday, November 01, 2018, 11:50 GMT+7
Russian ‘beggar woman’ returns to Vietnam, causes another scene
Russian national Anastasiia “meditates” on a sidewalk on Phu Quoc Island off the coast of Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam in this photo taken in August 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A Russian woman who was removed from Vietnam last year for begging on Phu Quoc Island off the coast of Kien Giang Province has made her way back to the island and caused another scene, this time with a newfound companion.

The 25-year-old woman, identified as Anastasiia, and a friend have spent the last few weeks on Phu Quoc, causing a headache for local authorities who are working on a solution to return the duo to Russia, officials admitted on Wednesday.

The Russian nationals were reportedly injured in a fight with a hostel owner on Phu Quoc in early October. Following the incident, Anastasiia took her friend for treatment at Phu Quoc Hospital, but she refused to pay the bill.

Even after doctors agreed to exempt them from their hospital fees, the pair declined to leave and insisted on staying at the hospital for another week to “recover."

They reportedly led an “unsanitary” lifestyle and caused discomfort for other patients unlucky enough to share the room, according to a report on Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

The two only reluctantly agreed to check out on October 23 after repeated requests from hospital directors.

After leaving the hospital, Anastasiia and her friend wrote a note that reads, “They hit my husband. They robbed us. We need money for medicine, food, and survival. We would be glad if you could help,” and asked a local to translate it into Vietnamese, according to Thanh Nien.

The two then brought the note to a photocopy shop to have it enlarged and printed, but they were refused by the shop owner, the newspaper reports.

A community leader in Duong Dong Town on Phu Quoc told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday that local authorities are unsure of how to appropriately handle the situation, as there is no precedent.

Van Cong Dau, director of Kien Giang’s Department of External Affairs, said the provincial department is waiting for an official request from Phu Quoc authorities for support in the case.

Once the request is received, the department will contact the Russian diplomatic mission to Vietnam to work on a solution to return the unwelcome visitors to their home country.

In August 2017, the Russian woman caused a stir in Vietnam after a photo was posted online in which she appeared to be “meditating” on a sidewalk on Phu Quoc with a note written in Vietnamese placed in front that read, “meditate for luck, need money.”

Readers criticized the action, which exemplifies a growing trend of foreign tourists in Vietnam seeking short-term jobs or resorting to panhandling in order fund their trip.

Authorities in Kien Giang managed to return the Russian woman to her home country after the incident, but it is unclear how she has found her way back.

Foreign visitors to Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island are not required to obtain a visa if they intend to stay for 30 days or less.

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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