Comment "This "extortion" also happens to foreigners!" on Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Vietnam

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This "extortion" also happens to foreigners!

I too have been "invited" by a Customs officer to go to the small narrow room next to the cabin bag check x-ray machine (just before passport control) for discussion on how much money I carried. I had to show him all the money, and even my wallet, whcih he boldly took, and went through the money notes piece by piece. I felt embarrassed to say here that I was relieved of 500,000 VND! Apparently, you should not have more than 15 ml VND or equivalent - we weren't told of this, as there was no Customs or Immigration forms to fill in when we entered Vietnam. Any amount in excess, and you are expected to contribute to their private coffers.

I was, and still am, quite angry each time I think about this incident. Is this prevalent practice? Should we contribute, or have the right to say no? If we do, how much is considered reasonable? What can we do to counter the threat that "a report must be made since you carry over 15 ml VND"? Do they have the right to detain you... until your flight takes off? Grateful if you could share your experience and suggestions.

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