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Two-ton radiation shielding equipment stolen from hospital in southern Vietnam

Friday, May 26, 2017, 11:41 GMT+7

Authorities are still on the hunt for a lead radiation-shield weighing nearly two metric tons stolen from a local hospital in southern Kien Giang province.

The shield had been installed in the cancer-treatment facility of the under-construction Kien Giang General Hospital when it was reported missing, a source told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Brigadier Pham Trung Thanh, chief of staff and spokesperson for Kien Giang Police, said on Thursday that investigative units are looking into a robbery at the hospital involving certain medical equipment.

According to a source, the stolen equipment in question is a lead sheet weighing nearly two metric tons used by lab technicians to shield themselves from unwanted radiation.

The facility is located in a secluded area where few people visit and, according to locals, security guards have never been spotted at the site.

The sheet had been installed in the hospital’s oncology ward, where a radiotherapy fuel manufacturing facility is being built with funds from foreign sponsors.

The total cost of the equipment at the facility, including the stolen radiation shield, amounts to over six million Euros (US$6.7 million), according to Kien Giang Department of Health, the project’s developer.

Meanwhile, the market price for the isolated lead sheet along would be no more than VND100 million ($4,400), according to a doctor from the hospital’s oncology ward. 

Moving such a heavy piece of equipment would require a crane truck, leaving authorities puzzled as to why someone would go through such great lengths to steal such a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment.

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