A number of street civil guards in the downtown area of Ho Chi Minh City have been found acting as spies for pickpockets who targeted foreign travelers, local police have warned.
Colonel Le Ngoc Phuong, head of the criminal police division under the city’s Police Department, gave the warning at a conference on Friday.
Those guards collected information about activities planned by police against street crimes and informed pickpockets of such activities, Col. Phuong said.
As a result, police faced a lot of difficulties in detecting and arresting such street thieves, the officer told the conference.
There was a time when more than 10 cases of pickpocketing occurred per day in the city's central area, news website VnExpress quoted Col. Phuong as saying.
Municipal police have received complaints from the consulates of many countries about cases of pickpocketing foreigners, the official added.
The collusion between street civil guards and pickpockets was discovered when police were investigating some street thefts, he added.
Based on the discovery, the police have recently launched two crackdowns on street crime gangs and arrested at least 20 pickpockets and their spies.
These busts were carried out with the support of several foreigners who had fallen victim to pickpocket gangs, Col. Phuong said.
After the arrests, the number of cases of pickpocketing foreigners in the city's downtown has now reduced remarkably, he added.