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Three thieves arrested for stealing from foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, February 02, 2015, 11:55 GMT+7
Three thieves arrested for stealing from foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City
From L: Le Thi Lieu, Vo Phat Tai and To Van Hau are seen at the police's office in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City have captured a three-member gang, one of whom disguised himself as a young woman, for stealing property from foreigners at a park in the “backpacker area” in the city.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

>> Vietnamese masseuse held for stealing 2 iPhones from Australian expert Two young men Vo Phat Tai, 21, and To Van Hau, 22, and a 45-year-old woman, Le Thi Lieu, were detained early Sunday on suspicion of stealing a handbag from a French traveler, police in District 1 said the same day.

Lieu and Tai are local residents while Hau, who camouflaged himself as a young woman, hails from Binh Duong Province, which neighbors the city. The suspects have pleaded guilty to theft and will be charged with “stealing property” pursuant to Article 138 of the Penal Code, police said. According to the police report, the gang often operated in the city’s downtown areas in the early hours of the morning, targeting foreigners in their attempts to steal property. At 12:25 am on February 1, the gang noticed a young foreign man sitting on a bench with a handbag placed beside him in 23/9 Park in Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, a quarter known as the “backpacker area.” Lieu and Hau then approached the “prey” while Tai waited on a motorbike parked nearby. After pretending to ask the foreigner some questions, Lieu and Hau managed to grab his handbag and then ran toward Tai. A police team that was patrolling the area rushed to the scene and seized all three suspects. Police recovered the handbag, which contained VND23 million (US$1,080) and some personal papers, and returned it to the foreigner, a 21-year-old French national, whose name has not been released.

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