Public security minister grilled on new passport issues at National Assembly meeting
Concerns over the newly-issued Vietnamese passports were the main topic during questions and answers at the 14th session of the 15th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee, which started on August 11.

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Concerns over the newly-issued Vietnamese passports were the main topic during questions and answers at the 14th session of the 15th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee, which started on August 11.

General To Lam, Minister of Public Security, said that the ministry presided over the work and would bear responsibility for it.

Lam said the issuance of new passports was completed based on the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese citizens passed by the NA in 2019.

General To Lam, Minister of Public Security, fields questions from National Assembly deputies on Wednesday during a session held in Hanoi__Photo: VNA

All details printed on the passports are made following the law.

Many countries around the world use this form and do not record the place of birth. Vietnamese passports are accepted by most countries. Only three countries, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic, have refused to accept it. Although Spain has subsequently reversed the decision.

The Minister of Public Security (MPS) has a solution to overcome this. In the short term, it has discussed with concerned agencies to add the place of birth in the annotation in the passport.

In the long term, if it is necessary to add the place of birth, the MPS will report to the Government and the NA to amend the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese citizens for additional information.

The MPS has issued 272,000 passports under the new form to citizens nationwide.

As for the opinion that a passport without a place of birth will make it difficult for the management of the host countries, the MPS said in order to solve and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese citizens when applying for a Schengen visa, which includes 26 European countries, it worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately put "place of birth" in the new passport form for citizens when they request it.

In the long term, the passport form will be revised, including the "place of birth" section of the passport's identity page, the MPS’ report stated.

Black credit prevention

Answering questions about 'black credit' crime, General To Lam said the ministry would continue to investigate criminals, strengthen education, and regularly warn people about the methods used by 'black credit' apps. The ministry will also closely coordinate with the banking sector to help people access loans from official sources.

Lam said that over the past three years, the ministry had coordinated with other forces to curb and repel black credit crimes.

However, he said, the problem was still complicated as the providers use the internet and apps to operate on a large scale and with the participation of foreigners.

Black credit operations are very large with hundreds of thousands of borrowers, amounting to trillions of dong (VNĐ1 trillion equals US$42.9 million). But in reality, customers only get 60 per cent of the loan amount.

Lâm said that the main reason for the problem was that people's demand for loans was rising. Crime prevention and control was difficult because providers tried to circumvent the law, so it is difficult to classify if they are civil or criminal matters.

"This is a very complicated boundary. If we are not careful, we can criminalize civil cases. Or if we don't do it strictly, criminals will be overlooked," said Lam.

“One of the most fundamental measures is to use citizen identity cards to sign up for loans. Financial institutions and banks can accurately identify borrowers and issue loans,” he said.

Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Thi Hong said that the SBV had issued legal regulations on credit, giving credit and loan conditions.

In particular, when taking out a loan, customers must clearly state their purpose for the loan and their ability to repay. Credit institutions and customers reach an agreement on the repayment term.

Hong recommended that people access loans from official systems. The SBV has many programs to provide information related to loans and will continue to implement other solutions in the near future to promote credit from the official systems.

In the field of public security, the questions focused on State management over cybersecurity, the safety of the national cybersecurity system in the current period, and measures to prevent and strictly handle high-tech crimes.

In the field of culture, sports and tourism, questions were on the implementation of policies and laws that aim to make tourism a spearhead economic sector, tasks and solutions to boost tourism recovery after COVID-19, as well as policies to support businesses and employees in the tourism industry.

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