Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said on December 26 that it has asked relevant agencies to verify the report that 152 Vietnamese tourists fled in Taiwan.

The ministry said this is a serious problem that could negatively affect Vietnam’s image in international friends’ eyes. Therefore, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien has requested relevant agencies of the ministry to verify this report.

According to initial information, the Ho Chi Minh City-based International Holidays Trading Travel Co. Ltd received this group of tourists from a Taiwanese partner to help them get tourist visas.

The MCST said tourism activities and the eased visa policy for tourists in some countries and territories have been abused for the purpose of illegal working. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that some organisations and individuals have taken advantage of this policy to set up rings illegally sending Vietnamese overseas.

Such violations must be strictly punished in line with laws, the MCST said.

In May, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a directive on enhancing the fight against Vietnamese’s illegal exit, migration, residence, working and violation of laws in other countries.

Following that, the MCST demanded authorities of provinces and cities nationwide to tighten the management of tourism activities and ensure that local travel companies comply with laws when sending Vietnamese tourists to foreign destinations. –VNA