Nov 27, 2012

Vietnam - Street robberies rise dramatically in HCMC

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Street robberies have increased dramatically in Ho Chi Minh City, with many striking cases occurring in the past several days, worrying locals and prompting police to launch a campaign to crack down on them.

The latest case occurred yesterday morning, November 26, when 28-year-old Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thuy, a resident of Thanh My Loi, District 2, was driving across the Phu My Bridge.

Two men on a motorbike pulled up next to her and one of them suddenly slashed her right elbow with a large knife. Thuy shouted, “Robbery! Robbery!” as the thief hacked at her twice more, almost chopping off the lower part of the arm.

They failed to start the engine of Thuy’s bike after she felt to the ground and writhed in a pool of blood. The thieves then fled the scene.

Police arrested Ho Duy Truc and Nguyen Hoang Phuong – both 19 and natives of Ninh Thuan Province, as well as Tran Van Luong, 24, and Huynh Thanh Son, 30 – both of HCMC’s Binh Chanh District for the involvement in the brutal crime.

On Sunday, November 25, Han Youn, a 30-year-old South Korean man, was walking on the roadside of Nguyen Luong Bang Street when Nguyen Tuan Em, 21, snatched a luxury mobile phone from him and escaped on a motorbike driven by his accomplice, Pham Ba Vinh, 19. Youn managed to kick their vehicle down and seized Vinh. Police later arrested Em.

At 9:44 am on November 23 Nguyen Thi Phuong, 36, of Tan Phu District, was walking on a pavement on Tran Hung Dao, Street, District 5, when her handbag was snatched by a man who was driving a motorbike, local district police reported.

As the victim tried to keep the bag from being taken away by the robber, she was pulled along and then fell fall face first onto the street.

The incident was recorded by a camera and the 22-second clip was posted on a website yesterday, generating concern and anger among viewers.

Yesterday police in District 5 seized Diep Xuong Dat, 23, of District 10, for snatching a gold necklace worth US$1,300 from a Vietnamese-Australian on An Duong Vuong Street.

Also yesterday police in Hoc Mon District arrested Nguyen Van Thien, 16, and Nguyen Van Sang, 14, for cutting the throat of a motorbike taxi driver in order to steal his vehicle in Dong Thanh Commune.

The same day four men were detained after they caused a fake traffic accident to steal a motorbike from a 21-year-old man, Ho Minh Nhat.

They deliberately drove one of their bikes into Nhat and then hit him on the head with rocks, forcing him to fall to the ground, said Senior Lieutenant Colonel Huynh Tri Thanh, head of the district police.

The images from the clip showing a young woman falling to the ground after a robber
snaches her handbag on a pavement

Police action

In a move to improve security for people in HCMC, local police have launched a campaign to crack down on criminal gangs that have stolen from people, including those driving on the city’s streets.

In recent times, difficulties due to the challenged economy have driven many businesses into bankruptcy, leaving a lot of people unemployed and deprived, the police said.

Some of these unemployed people have worked together to commit robberies, causing loss both in property and life to residents, including foreigners.

Nguyen Thi Hong, deputy chairwoman of the city People’s Committee, urged police to strengthen safety for international tourists, especially in downtown areas, as the annual peak tourism season has started.

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