Traffic Police okayed to fine Foreigners in Saigon


Just read this online at Thanh Nien News.  The traffic police in Saigon will not be allowed to fine Expats and Viet Kieu for violating the traffic rules.  Fines will be issued at the scene with the aid of video recorders.

Take note though, ‘violators’ should pay the fine AT the office later, not to the traffic policeman.  Fines for not wearing a proper helmet or running a red light runs about 100,000-200,000 VND.  Speeding ranges from 200,000-800,000 VND.  Oh, if you do not have a driver’s license in Vietnam, you will get another fine most likely.  I will work on mine when I get my temporary residence permit hopefully next month.  The process is easier now.

My advice, just follow the laws.  Remember that you should ride on the right lane at ALL times.  I got fined two years ago for riding in the left lane.  I paid 40,000 VND at that time.  I have not had a fine since then.

Some may ask if the traffic police will now pull you over if they noticed you are a foreigner?  If they do and you feel that you did not violate any traffic law then fight it.  That’s what the Vietnamese do but remember, if you do not have a motorbike license, you are violating the law.

This could be a blow to the tourist areas since many tourists rent motorbikes with little or no experience riding them.

For me, I will follow the rules.  Things are changing in Vietnam rapidly.  Next year all Foreigners working in Vietnam will be required to obtain Tax IDs and obtain work permits.  This was much needed and finally will eliminate the discriminatory income tax regulations.

Read more about the new traffic regulation of foreigners here ->

Update: Thanh Nien News posted an update to their story today.  HCMC Traffic Police Deputy Chief Lieutenant-Colonel Tran Thanh Tra was reported saying that ‘Fluent’ English traffic police deputies will be dispatched when an Expat ‘offender’ is stopped for a traffic violation.  Easier said than done so I guess the traffic policeman who stops an Expat traffic offender in say, the Thu Duc District, will not mind waiting for an English speaking deputy.  We just will have to wait and see what happens.

The general feeling among Expats is that even though the new rule is fair, many of the traffic police will abuse it and just pull over Expats for money.  I am not generalizing, the traffic police have that reputation here in Saigon.  Notice the high number of expensive motorbikes that are repeatedly pulled over by the traffic police.  The police CAN now take your motorbike as well.  Previously they could not.

Tourists are fair game as well according to the ruling and I personally think they will be most affected by it.

Time to think about switching to an electric bike or plain ole bicycle.


  1. i was looking at the some of the fines and wow it was ridiciulous.
    ” Speeding by more than 35 kph: VND3,000,000-5,000,000 ($177-294)”…that’s a lot of money in Vietnam lol. seems to me like the commies just want to make more profit.

  2. I always picked the oldest and not-attractive motorbike in VN. I saw too many expats got pulled over. The bargaining begins on which Uncle Ho bill to use. 🙂

  3. I think its a good thing, I wouldn’t worry too much about the police using it to extract money from expats as the whole point is to institutionalise it.

    The fact they are publishing the correct fines and stating that you pay at the office will actually make it harder for police to over charge or demand payment on the spot – once you’re in the office there is a paper trail and the money is likely to go to the right place rather than the pocket of the officer that stops you.

    To be fair there is no excuse for not abiding by the traffic laws – I was also glad to see they will be running breathalyser tests too as drink driving is far too common in Vietnam by foreigners and locals alike.

    Although – not sure if my maths is wrong or the figure has been misreported – but in the uk the drinking limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100mls of breath, Thanh Nien states here is is 40 mg per litre of breath. Does this mean the limit is really 10 x higher here, or have they got the units wrong?

  4. Walking, taking the bus and the occasional taxi gets me around safely, quickly, easily, cheaply and the exercise benefits my health. Any kind of two wheeled transport in HCMC is just way too dangerous, and completely unnecessary.

    Never having to interact with the police, in any language, is an added bonus and for me, another small part of Vietnam’s near infinite charm(s).

    I was surprised to read how easy acquiring a VN Drivers License seems to be, if the explanation in the box at the end of the “update” article is to be believed. Interesting that I didn’t notice any price listed for the issuance of the license, I doubt that it is free. I also wonder how long a term it is issued for and if it is renewable. Many of the expats I have known in VN have never had a VN drivers license.

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