Vietnamese tourist declines iPhone 6, accepts local delicacies before leaving Singapore

Vietnamese tourist declines iPhone 6, accepts local delicacies before leaving Singapore

SINGAPORE - Pham Van Thoai, the Vietnamese tourist who was allegedly cheated of $550 by an electronics store in Sim Lim Square, has returned to Ho Chi Minh City.

The Straits Times reported that Pham was approached by Singaporean Gabriel Kang at Changi Airport Terminal 3 before his flight home.

He was presented with a 64GB silver iPhone that cost $1,538 and local delicacies such as bak kwa, kaya and chilli crab sauce.

Pham expressed appreciation of the kind gesture and accepted the food, but repeatedly refused to take the phone, saying: "I don't want to take more than what I lost. I don't deserve it."

Close to $16,000 was raised in the crowd-funding campaign initiated by Kang this week to purchase an iPhone and some local food items for Pham as a gesture of hospitality.

The Singaporean added that the remaining money will be donated to a charity chosen by Pham.

On Nov 3, the Vietnamese tourist had a terrifying experience when he tried to buy an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend as a birthday gift at Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square.

Pham paid $950 for the phone, but was duped into buying a warranty package which cost him another $1,500. He was not allowed to leave with the phone unless he paid the additional charges.

Photos and a video clip circulating widely on social media also showed the tourist kneeling down and begging the staff for a refund.

He only managed to get a partial refund of $400 after his girlfriend called the police and Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) for assistance.

Mobile Air is now being investigated by CASE for possible violations of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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