The 30-year-old woman was on holiday there with a female friend, they had arrived in Phan Thiet, a coastal city in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Thuan on Sunday afternoon, and they stayed together in a double room at a guesthouse.
The city is a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City and is a popular tourist spot known for its harbor, outdoor markets and seafood restaurants.
The two women had reportedly checked in and asked the 26-year-old Vietnamese manager for recommendations on places to get fresh seafood for dinner. The trio left the guesthouse together that evening and went for dinner and drinks.
It is unclear what time they returned to the guesthouse. But it was reported that at about 1am local time (2am, Singapore time), the manager entered the room and allegedly raped the woman.
It was not revealed where her friend was at that time.
A spokesman for the guesthouse told local media that, the women had initially made a booking for two nights, but left early Monday morning in a taxi headed for the police station.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Duc Dung, deputy head of the Public Security Department of Binh Thuan, told media that the woman had lodged a police report. He said the manager, who is the son of the owner of the guesthouse, is in police custody and had denied the rape allegation.
The suspect had admitted to having sex with the woman, but claimed it was consensual and that she initially made advances towards him. But the woman reportedly told police she was drunk at the time and was unable to give consent.
According to The New Paper – a Singaporean Online News channel, the woman is in contact with the Singapore authorities and has requested privacy.
EVIDENCE OF A STRUGGLE
Investigating officers also found her body bore signs of sexual assault and evidence of a struggle. The authorities are awaiting the results of tests on forensic evidence taken from the scene.
Attempts by media to contact the guesthouse have been unsuccessful. Its Facebook page has also been taken down.
A check showed it has a four out of five review rating on most travel websites. A double room at the guesthouse was listed for $16 a night.
The punishment for rape in Vietnam is a minimum of two years’ jail. Depending on the seriousness of the assault, those convicted can also face the death penalty.
A survey by ActionAid also found that 81% of Vietnamese women said they have experienced sexual harassment in public places. Meanwhile, a UN Women statement from late March also suggests that gender biases prevent rape victims from seeking justice in Vietnam. Specifically, women who reported rape are rarely trusted and are often told to resolve their “issue” through negotiations.
By David Sun