Pickpocketing gangs uncovered at hospitals
Updated : 12/10/2012 13:46 GMT + 7
Many patients who arrived at the hospital for treatment in Ho Chi Minh City have fallen victim to gangs of pickpocketers, a Tuoi Tre investigation has found.
After months of investigation, Tuoi Tre discovered two pickpocketing gangs at hospitals.
One of the gangs is led by Vo Thi Anh Tuyet, 34, nicknamed ‘two-finger’ Nieng. Tuyet is running a gang that was named after her nickname.
Everyday, Tuyet and her daughter, who aided her in picpocketing, were driven to hospital by a man named Danh, who was paid VND200,000 (US$9.6) per day. On days when Tuyet pickpocketed victims, she paid up toVND500,000 to Danh.
On October 28, Nieng and her daughter arrived at Nancy Clinic, a private pediatrics clinic. Nieng held a baby in her arms that she had hired from an acquaintance.
Nieng then urged her daughter to inquire about some initial medical procedures for the baby, while she looked around for ‘prey’.
Nieng took a wallet from a victim, who later found she had lost VND5 million ($240) and reported it to the hospital’s security officers, who tried to hunt for the culprit.
Meanwhile, Nieng left the hospital and entered a café nearby, where she changed her shirt. She later left the café and was driven home by Danh, who was waiting for her outside.
Two days later, Nieng was found operating in Tu Du Obstetric Hospital, where a couple caught her attempting to open their backpack to steal things.
Another gang is the “Gam den” gang, which comprised 10 members and operated in different hospitals, such as Nhan Dan 115, Pediatrics 2, and Hung Vuong.
When a member of this gang stole something from a victim’s pocket, he or she would immediately transfer that thing to another member to avoid detection.
Along with these gangs, many individuals have also made a living by pickpocketing at hospitals.
Many of them have been identified, like Thach Thi Dung, a woman of Dong Thap Province, who was caught at Cho Ray Hospital in District 5 in October 5.
Tuyet attempts to pickpocket a victim at Nancy Clinic in District 5 on October 28 (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
Some days later, Nguyen Thi Anh Thu, who lives in District 4, was also detained at Cho Ray while she was attempting to take away a mobile phone from a patient.
Hard to handle
On November 11, Nieng was escorted by security guards to police in Ward 4, District 5 for allegedly pickpocketing patients.
Since there was no proof, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thanh Dan could only give her an administrative fine for her not having an ID card and released her later.
Seven days later, Nieng was escorted again to police after she stole VND1.5 million ($72) from a patient in Cho Ray Hospital, but she was not treated criminally.
Lieutenant Colonel Tran Thanh Huyen said the police have set up a file about the gang led by Nieng but police find it hard to handle the gang.
According to prevailing regulations, if Nieng carries out two pickpocketing cases but the value of the money stolen in these cases is less than VND2 million, we will only hand her over to police where she lives for monitoring and education, Huyen explains.