A mob of residents rushed to loot goods spilling out from the cargo of a truck that suddenly caught fire in the south-central province of Binh Dinh on Tuesday, despite the desperate cry from the unfortunate driver.
The truck, departing from Ho Chi Minh City, was en route to a supermarket in the provincial capital of Quy Nhon when the incident took place, according to three videos capturing the looting that were posted on a Facebook page the same day.
Huynh Du Phi Long, deputy head of the Quy Nhon police department, confirmed the incident to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday, adding those looters will be summoned to work with police.
According to the videos seen by Tuoi Tre, as the merchandise fell out from the burned cargo, several dozens of people rushed to take whatever they could. Some left happily with their ‘feats’, even though the driver, identified as Le Tan Duy, desperately asked them to stop in tears.
Some people and a couple of men in police uniform are seen trying to stop the looters, but their efforts also went in vain.
Some looters are seen smiling happily when they left the truck with numerous goods items.
The driver Tan is heard telling a woman, “If the truck of one of your family members was in this situation, would you loot its goods?”, but the looter simply ignored.
The looting took place for ten to 15 minutes and only stopped when more police officers came to the scene.
Looters to be summoned
Binh Nguyen, who filmed the footage, told Tuoi Tre the mobs only began rushing to loot the truck after firefighters left the scene, having extinguished the fire on the truck.
The truck caught fire when it was driving past the Quarter 1 residential area in Ghenh Rang Ward of Quy Nhon. Vo Van Thong, deputy head of the ward police unit, admitted that when his force came to the scene, the looting had ended.
Thong added, however, that his officers had visited the Quarter 1 residential area to compile a list of the looters, based on the video footage.
“They will be asked to work with us,” he said.
The driver cries of desperation
In the meantime, Long, the city’s police deputy chief, said the looters consist of Quarter 1 residents and also people from the nearby Xuan Hai Commune, which is administered by the neighboring Phu Yen Province, plus some unidentified passers-by.
“We have sent forces to meet with those involved and asked them to return the looted goods,” Long said.
He added that police are still considering the penalties for the looters, but promised to “strictly handle the case” so that there are no more such ugly actions in the future.
In December 2013, hoards of people also ran out to the street to loot hundreds of beer cans that poured from an overturned truck in the southern city of Bien Hoa.
In July 2014, two men involved in the looting were sentenced to six months each in prison for “publicly appropriating property."