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Foreign Man Fined VND200,000 for Harassing Vietnamese Woman in Elevator

It is the latest incident of sexual harassment to ignite social media in Vietnam.

VnExpress reports that on July 11, an Estonian man slapped a Vietnamese woman on her behind as she left an elevator inside the Sun Avenue apartment complex in District 2. The two had previously engaged in small talk. In addition to the act of physical violence, the man also called the woman a string of racial slurs. The interaction was caught on CCTV.

At the time, the woman's husband called the man to demand an apology, a move greeted with further insults. However, the woman decided not to pursue legal recourse as she reportedly didn't think an effective punishment would be meted out, as harassment is not a criminal offense.

The news source shares that she changed her mind and filed a complaint after encountering the man several more times and fearing for her safety. In response, city police fined the man VND200,000 (US$8.6), while the individual in question also agreed to move out of the apartment complex.

The reaction on Vietnamese social media has been one of anger and disbelief, and calls to mind a March 2019 incident in which a Vietnamese man was fined the same amount for forcibly kissing a woman in an elevator in Hanoi. In October, a Saigon woman took to Facebook to complain about a restaurant in District 2, whose foreign owner made racist remarks towards her and her friends.

Following that penalty and the public outcry over its perceived insufficient size, the Ministry of Public Security proposed a draft amendment that would increase fines for sexual harassment from VND100,000–300,000 to VND3–5 million.

[Image via VnExpress]

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