Skyscrapers along a beach in Da Nang. Photo by Kim Lien
Photos of a foreign man begging on the streets of the tourist city of Da Nang have gone viral on social media over the past few days, prompting city authorities to investigate.
The man has been seen standing on downtown streets in the Thanh Khe District holding a sign in Vietnamese saying: “I am traveling without money. Please support my trip,” Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
A report from the city’s Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said that the man carries a Russian passport and a tourist visa effective until March 14.
The department also dispatched staff to remind the man not to beg for money, which is illegal under Vietnamese law.
Officials offered to help the man, but he said nothing and left.
A representative of the department said the Russian man begs for money in the daytime and then visits bars at night, Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper reported.
The department has reported the incident to local police.
Foreigners begging for money has stirred a debate in Vietnam and other Asian countries over whether these people deserve support or if they are just taking advantage of their hosts to enjoy a free vacation.
Last month, three Russians were found begging near the Duong Dong Market on Phu Quoc Island, a top tourist destination in Vietnam. Although local tourism officials said they had tried to find them to send them back home, no official information about this has been released so far.
Da Nang, famous for its long, sandy beaches, received 483,000 foreign tourists last year, up 4.6 times from 2021.