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Da Lat Police Launch Crackdown on Local Fruit Jam 'Mafia'

Vietnam's Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, has called for a crackdown on aggressive tour guides pushing local products and services on tourists in Da Lat.

Phuc demanded that local authorities enact measures to protect visitors from what VnExpress referred to as the “tourism mafia," which coerces people into buying jam from local producers in the Central Highlands.

Jam is produced using local fruit grown in the region and is one of Da Lat's most well-known delicacies. These local "jam-brokers" are known for their aggressive methods of forcing visitors to purchase products from merchants, leaving tourists with a bad impression of the city.

At least one person is reported to have been the victim of violence as the result of a jam-brokering deal gone wrong. Last month Tran Ngoc Bich, 44, was beaten by a merchant and his wife over a dispute concerning the price of a kilogram of mulberries. Bich was taken to the hospital with head injuries, as reported by Tuoi TreThere have been at least three similar cases reported since 2013.

Before Phuc's declaration, officials in Lam Dong province, home to Da Lat, had already asked local police to tighten security measures on Mai Anh Dao, Phu Dong Thien Vuong and Nguyen Tu Luc Streets in the city. These streets are popular among tourists and thus, local scammers, according to Vietnam Breaking News.

VnExpress adds that Da Lat officials said they had fined seven businesses VND25 million in total for using jam-brokers to sell their products.

[Photo by Buffalo Trip]

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