Lesson #1: Pay to keep your motorbike

Here is an interesting story from Thanh Nien News involving impounded motorbikes in Saigon.

As many of the Saigonese motorbike riders know already, it is best not to break the laws in front of the traffic police, especially if you happen to ride one of those more pricier motorbikes. The traffic police can even spot the more wealthier Vietnamese who ride older bikes such as the Honda Dream. Normally a rider would just put some money in the black folder listing your fine and that is that. They are off with their motorbikes braving the crazy traffic once again.

For those unlucky enough to not understand the procedure (remember, the traffic police cannot accept bribes anymore) or for those who live by their own “principles,” their motorbike will get a free ride to the traffic police impound yard. As the article mentions, do not expect the police to take good care of your motorbike, regardless of how much you paid for it. They will stack motorbikes on top of each other in the truck that takes these motorbikes to the impound. Remember, you broke the law.

Once your impounded motorbike makes it to the motorbike impound yard, do not expect the police to waste their resources to protect your bike. What you should expect is for your motorbike to have it’s “original” parts replaced by Chinese knock-offs. If you happen to have a $5,000 Honda Dylan, expect your motorbike’s parts to be replaced with inferiors one. Some lucky guy with a $2,500 “Chinese” Dylan will thank you, I am sure, for he just spent $1,000 at a motorbike repair shop “upgrading” his “fake” Dylan with new original parts, including the engine and possibly frame, with your motorbike’s parts. Yes, it does happen.

In short, obey the laws and try to keep your motorbike in any situation. If you are an American, the traffic police is supposed to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and US Consulate before impounding law. Use that to your advantage but again, obey the law 🙂

Read the article here -> Poor police care makes impounded HCMC motorbikes unusable

Stolen motorbike parts at Police impounded lots

(Source: Thanh Nien News)

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