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Fake GrabBike drivers prey on victims at Ho Chi Minh City bus station, airport

Saturday, June 01, 2019, 15:59 GMT+7
Fake GrabBike drivers prey on victims at Ho Chi Minh City bus station, airport
A group of fake GrabBike drivers is seen near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City in this screenshot.

Fake GrabBike drivers have been preying on victims at the Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station in Binh Thanh District and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Tan Binh District in Ho Chi Minh City by offering rides with exorbitant prices.

Most of those passengers falling victim for the scam are apparently unfamiliar with the ride-hailing app. They often skip booking on the mobile app and carelessly accept the prices shown to them by the motorbike drivers.

Little did they know that the con artists choose the pick-up point farther than the actual location, or quote them the prices of the journey using GrabBike Premium or GrabCar services.

N.M., a college student, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper she paid VND133,000 (US$5.72) for a ride that actually cost only VND50,000 ($2.15) as she fell victim to fake GrabBike driver.

“I didn’t check the price on my Grab app but accepted his offer immediately,” N.M. said.

A Tuoi Tre reporter has gone undercover as a passenger who wanted to go from Mien Dong Bus Station to the Binh Phuoc Intersection in Thu Duc District, and was offered a price of VND171,000 ($7.35) from a scam driver. The ride actually cost only VND33,000 ($1.42) at the time.

A sign warning against fake GrabBike drivers is seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre
A sign warning against fake GrabBike drivers is seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre

Similarly, a fake GrabBike driver told your correspondent a ride from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Ben Thanh Market would cost VND124,000 ($5.33), while it should be only VND37,000 ($1.6).

H.V., a resident in Tan Phu District, told Tuoi Tre there is always a group of ‘GrabBike’ drivers at the entrance of the Mien Dong Bus Station who never accept any bookings via the app.

“They would come to me and ask for ride fares that are three to five times higher than actual quotes in the app,” H.V. said, adding that these men would mutter curses when he rejected their offers.

A veteran ‘xe om’, or motorbike taxi driver, who looks for customers near Tan Son Nhat  revealed to Tuoi Tre that the operation of fake GrabBike drivers has been rife in the area for two years, under the protection of a ‘powerful’ individual.

“Fake GrabBike drivers have to pay protection money to this ‘boss,’ otherwise they will be intimidated and even attacked attempting to prey on victims here,” he said.

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