A tenured police officer of the lieutenant rank was arrested Tuesday after his colleagues identified him to be the robber who has been wanted in the past nine years.
The true identity of officer Tran Huu Nam, 29, was known when police launched a three-month investigation into his record after he started a row with street fruit vendors in Dong Nai Province.
Nam turns out to have led a ring to rob people in the provincial capital Bien Hoa City in 2004, when he was 20 years old and has been on the wanted list since.
But he somehow managed to become an officer in nearby Dinh Quan District in 2005 after he fled from the police.
The man was seconded to a police unit in another district in 2006 once he had finished a four-month training program. He was then admitted to a police school in Ho Chi Minh City and began his course the same year.
Nam won tenure in the provincial police force upon graduation and was transferred first to its protection and legal assistance division, then to a flying squad before ending up in the Bien Hoa police department in late 2012.
In January this year he got into a disagreement over the fruit weight with some street vendors in Bien Hoa when he was buying durians from them, following a drinking party with friends.
A vendor went wild and was about to knife him when the then officer showed his police badge to settle the row.
As per routine procedures, Bien Hoa police launched a probe and accidentally discovered that Nam was the mastermind of the 2004 robbery.
They immediately relieved him of his post before initiating legal proceedings against him.
Dong Nai police refused to answer local media’s questions as to why Nam had slipped through the tightly knitted net into their ranks.