A thief impersonating an anti-drug policeman was arrested by genuine police officers in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.
Dang Tuan Thanh, 21, and at least two of his accomplices had been confronting foreigners, falsely claiming to be police officers in order to check papers and eventually rob them of cash and phones.
As he is able to speak English, Thanh successfully duped his victims into thinking he was a real anti-drug officer, carrying a fake police badge reading, "Certificate Police Office On Drug Crime [sic].”
Sensing that police were onto him, Thanh, who previously worked as a motorbike taxi driver, fled his house on Monday night, but officers still managed to track him down and arrest him.
The fake cop confessed to seven successful robberies on foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City.
Police found the motorbike he used to commit the crimes, nine bags, two watches and three bags of meth at his house. Thanh said he had been selling all of the stolen assets to buy meth.
Many expats, who were duped or almost fell victim to Thanh, wrote about him on several Facebook pages to warn others of the fake cop’s activities.
Police kept track of Thanh after receiving multiple complaints from his victims.
One of them was a 20-year-old British tourist, who was confronted by the fake cop while he was driving his girlfriend home on Dien Phu Street in Binh Thanh District.
Thanh spoke to them in English, introducing himself as a Vietnamese police officer who needed to check their papers, before forcing them to pay a fine for traffic violations at gunpoint.
As he had no money on him, the foreigner was forced to go with Thanh to an ATM booth. The bogus cop eventually fled with VND8 million (US$358) in cash and the British man’s phone.
On May 26, Thanh stopped a 43-year-old Japanese visitor who was exercising on the Thu Thiem Bridge in District 2.
The fake cop asked the Japanese man to present personal papers as he was said to match the profile of a suspected criminal, only to steal his iPhone 6.
Applying the same method, Thanh robbed a Dutchman of his iPad, camera, video camera and VND2 million ($89) in cash after the foreigner and his friend had been traveling on Dong Van Cong Street in District 2 on May 31.