News on dog thieves for 2014
30th December 2014 - 20-year-old dog thief sentenced to death in Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - A Ho Chi Minh City court on Tuesday sentenced a dog thief to death for killing three men who were trying to catch him in the outskirt district of Cu Chi in June.
Ho Van Hieu, 20, was convicted of murder and robbery, according to the verdict delivered by the HCMC People’s Court in open trial at a football field in the district.
The court also handed down jail terms against his three accomplices, including Le Minh Hau, 19, to 12 years in jail, Pham Ngoc Thuan, 27, and Ho Thanh An to ten years each, all for robbery charges.
Among the defendants, Le Minh Hau was serving a 18 months probation for the conviction of deliberately injuring other.
According to the indictment, Hieu was the leader of the gang that stole dogs in Hoc Mon and Cu Chi Districts.
On June 14, the gang stole three dogs in Cu Chi and were returning to Hoc Mon on motorbikes.
However, three men in Cu Chi’s Tan Thanh Dong Commune, namely Huynh Kim Bao, Nguyen Minh Phuong and Pham Nguyen Quoc Huu, saw the thieves and chased them on Bao's motorbike.
When the chasers caught up with the thieves at a section of Nguyen Kim Cuong St., Cu Chi Dist., they attempted to attack with a machete.
Hieu shot at Bao with his stun gun, which fired an electrical arrow. He missed Bao, but the arrow hit Phuong, who sat in the middle.
Both Phuong and Huu were electrocuted, fell to the street and died later of severe injuries. Bao lost control of his bike, hit the wall of a house by the street and died on the spot.
The thieves fled, but turned themselves in to the police the following days.
26th December 2014 - Two dog thieves arrested for shooting at chasers - Thanh Nien News - Tien Giang police on Friday arrested two men accused of stealing a dog and injuring two chasers three days before.
Nguyen Thanh Dat, 23, and Lam Thai An, 29, are in custody for investigation into charges of robbery and deliberately injuring others, the police said.
The duo is accused of stealing a dog after shooting it dead with a home-made stun gun that fired electrical arrows at 10.30 a.m. Dec. 24 in Cai Be Dist., Tien Giang Province.
When they fled on a motorbike, the dog owner, Pham Van Qui, called his two friends Huynh Minh Trung and Nguyen Thanh Nhat and asked them to ambush them. Later, Trung and Nhut managed to knock the thieves of their bike at a road section in Cai Be District’s Tan Hung Commune.
However, Dat fired his stun gun at Nhut, who could luckily dodge the arrow, which slightly injured his neck. Dat then reloaded his gun and fire another shot at Trung and hit him in his stomach. The thieves then ran away. After three days of investigation, Cai Be police arrested the duo who confessed to their crime.
Dat told the police he had thrown the gun to a river.
20th December 2014 - Enraged mob kills 2 dog thieves in Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - Dog love turned ugly once again in Vietnam where a northern community ambushed a dog thief gang on Friday night, beating two to death and leaving two others barely conscious.
Le Van Diep, chairman of Thach Binh Commune in Thanh Thanh District, Thanh Hoa Province said the mob attack in Bang Phu hamlet killed Nguyen Van Ngan and Nguyen Van Dung, while Bui Van Thao and Quach Van Duong were severely wounded.
All the four suspected thieves lived in the same district, but different hamlet, Diep said. According to locals' account, the suspects' first attempt to steal some dogs in Bang Phu on Friday afternoon failed, but they managed to escape. Residents of Bang Phu hamlet decided to ambush the thieves that night. At around 11 p.m., they spotted the four leaving the hamlet on two motorbikes, carrying a dog and dog-catching tools such as lassos and stun guns. They stopped the thieves and kept beating them until the police arrived. Diep said people of Bang Phu hamlet have been enraged about dog theft as many of them lost their pets recently.
15th December 2014 - Police rescue two dog thieves from angry mob in Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - A squad of dozens of police officers had to rescue two dog thieves from an angry mob in the northern province of Ninh Binh on Monday. The incident happened at around 6 am when Nguyen Van Hieu and Nguyen Xuan Giang, both 23, allegedly stole Dam Tu Thanh's dog, Dan Tri newspaper reported. Hundreds of local residents in Nho Quan District blocked all roads to the commune and managed to catch the duo and lock them up in a local house.
Many had allegedly had their dogs stolen in the past. As the mob began beating the two men, a concerned resident tipped off the local police who arrived at the scene only to be repelled by a mob of over 300 residents. The mob vented their frustration with rampant dog theft. One local resident was allegedly killed while trying to catch a pair of thieves in the past. The mob demanded that police hold the two men accountable for all past thefts in the commune. The officers attempted to protect the thieves from the mob's blows, while calling for backup. Traffic police were mobilized to the scene to clear the resulting gridlock.
More than 30 police officers arrived at the scene, but they were not able to get the thieves to safety until 2 pm.
A police source said the duo would have been killed by the mob if they had arrived any later.
14th December 2014 - Two dog thieves busted, say they caught 8-9 dogs each night - Thanh Nien News - Two men who were caught red-handed stealing dogs near Ho Chi Minh City on Monday have told police they made VND10 million (US$470) a day selling the canines to restaurants.
Nguyen Van Dung, 29, and Thai Dien Kha, 27, were arrested at 2.30 a.m. Monday when they were carrying four dead dogs and an alive German shepherd dog, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Wednesday.The police said the duo equiped themselves with a home-made stun gun, which can shoot electrical arrows connected to two motorbike batteries by wire. The police seized the stun gun, 17 arrows, two saws and VND3 million, the paper said.
Dung and Kha said they went out every midnight hunting for dogs along National Highway 22 from Cu Chi District in the neighboring Ho Chi Minh City to Go Dau District in Tay Ninh. They checked out the capture dogs at Dung’s house from between 2 to 4 a.m. before bringing them to buyers, including wholesalers or slaughterhouses that supply to dog meat restaurants. The duo said they often caught eight or nine dogs every night and sold them all for around VND10 million ($470).They said they would shoot anyone who tried to stop them. Dung and his wife Nguyen Thi Van have been running a dog meat restaurant themselves in Tay Ninh.
27th November 2014 - Dog thieves strike in Ho Chi Minh City - Video credit: VnExpress
15th November 2014 - Vietnam police bust cat theft gang - Thanh Nien News - Thirty cats were rescued in Phan Thiet Town after local police arrested four suspects of a local cat theft ring early Saturday (Nov. 15) morning.
Nguyen Van Dung, Nguyen Quang Teo and Nguyen Thanh Man allegedly used sparrows as bait to trap the cats, which they were about to sell to Nguyen Thi Hue, police said.
Hue, who paid VND50,000 per kilo for the cats, would later resell them to restaurants in the town, which is famous for Mui Ne Beach.
Most of the felines appeared to be housecats, many of which had collars and tags, the police said. One of them was dead.
Police seized many traps and dozens of bait sparrows.
11th November 2014 - Family suspects poisoned dog bait by the thieves killed Vietnamese toddler - Thanh Nien News - A family in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong reportedly refused to permit a forensic autopsy for their son, whom they believe was poisoned by dog thieves.
Pham Dinh Bao Khanh died on November 4 after licking what neighbors and his mother say was a piece of poisoned bait set out by the thieves.
Khanh was only 22-months old. “He screamed, walked several meters and collapsed,” said Ta Thi Kim Lan, who lives next door. Lan spoke to Tuoi Tre reporters on the day of the tragedy at around 8 p.m. She recalled first spotting a round glob attached to a rolled-up plastic bag in her front yard while sweeping her porch that afternoon.
“I had never seen anything like that. I thought it was a kind of religious offering someone had tossed on the ground, but later I learned it was dog bait.
“If I had put it away or burned it, Khanh would not have died.”
Two pieces of dog bait collected in Dak Nong Province. One was believed to kill a 22-month-old boy in the province on November 4, 2014 after he mistook it for a lollipop. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
Pham Thi Thoa, the boy's 25-year-old mother, said she had given Khanh a lollipop at a neighbor’s birthday party earlier that night, and he must have thought the dog bait was the same thing. Thoa said she left the boy to play outdoors with other kids and went back into her house.“I heard my son scream. His body went into shock and his mouth just kept opening,” she told Tuoi Tre.She and a group of neighbors took the boy from one hospital to another, but he died soon afterward. Thoa also said she had never seen the thing that Khanh had licked before he died, “but it looked like a lollipop.”
After Khanh died, Thoa said neighbors showed her several pieces of dog bait they'd picked up around the neighborhood, and it was exactly the same as the item that killed her son. Nguyen Van Tuynh, a local man, said dogs are stolen regularly in the area, especially from houses along the main road.
“The thieves throw the bait, which looks like candy. We pick them up every once in a while and burn them.”
Commune Police Chief Pham Thanh Hoa confirmed that would-be dog thieves left poisoned bait out in the area, but said they cannot link the bait to the boy's death without proper testing. Hoa said the police seized the bait at the scene and requested permission to conduct a forensic autopsy, but the family refused. “Since we cannot identify the toxin inside the boy, it’s very hard to say whether he was killed by dog bait or not.”
Doctor Huynh Van Nam, who provided emergency aid to Khanh at Cu Jut District General Hospital, said the boy arrived after he'd stopped breathing and his heart beat had become irregular. “The poisoning was very severe. We have never seen anything like this before,” Nam said.
He said the boy was unable to vomit by himself and doctors had to pump his stomach.
Then they forwarded the boy to Dak Lak General Hospital but the boy was barely clinging to life, Nam said.
He also said that the doctors don't know for sure that if dog bait killed the boy.
15th Ocotber 2014 - Ho Chi Minh City police arrest man who stole 200 dogs - Thanh Nien News - Police say a Ho Chi Minh City dog thief confessed, on Tuesday, to stealing 200 dogs in the past seven months with the help of a stun gun.
Police and residents in District 9 caught Pham Thanh Binh early the same day after he and his accomplice crashed in an attempted getaway, news website VnExpress reported. Binh's partner escaped on foot, the site said. Binh, 23, a migrant from the south central province of Binh Thuan, told police he had sought work at a number of construction sites before he fell in with a group of five or six dog thieves. The gang used homemade stun guns fashioned out of wooden stocks, metal contact wires and motorbike batteries to take down dogs and sell them to restaurants. Police claim Binh confessed to having stolen nearly 200 dogs since March.
14th September 2014 - Thieves trap house cats for Ho Chi Minh City restaurants - Thanh Nien News - Domestic cats have recently fallen prey to trappers working for Ho Chi Minh City eateries. A Thanh Nien reader came to the newspaper’s office several days ago and showed reporters a device he called the “killer’s trap”. He said no cat stood a chance of escaping the simple snare, set over a bowl of bait.
The more the cat struggles, the tighter the rope squeezes its neck until it is eventually dead.
Nguyen Van Hung, a retired military officer, told Thanh Nien the trap looked like a tiger trap he encountered several decades ago while serving in a Cambodian forest. Meanwhile, demand for cat meat has been rising at eateries in HCMC, Thanh Nien found.
A cat comes to eat the bait laid out in a trap...The cat's neck is snared.
7th August 2014 - Dog thief jailed in southern Vietnam- Thanh Nien News - In a rare case of a dog thief suffering something other than a cash fine or a brutal beating, a court in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau sentenced Nguyen Hau Em, 22, to one year in jail on Thursday.
Em was caught with four live dogs and two dead ones on July 18.
Their value was estimated at VND2.75 million (US$130)--well beyond the VND2 million threshold for criminal charges that usually saves dognappers from doing time. Many have blamed the light punishments meted out to dog thieves for pushing whole communities to brutal mob justice in the rare instances when they're caught. Police arrested Em and his accomplice, Nguyen Van Thang, with a sack filled with dogs they'd caught using a stun gun. Thang managed to escape and police put out a warrant for his capture.
Nguyen Hau Em, 22, is escorted by the police to a trial in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province August 7, 2014, where he was sentenced to one year in jail for stealing six dogs. Photo: Nguyen Long
13th July 2014 - Mob burns dog thieves’ motorbikes in northern Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - A mob of angry villagers in the northern province of Thanh Hoa set fire to two motorbikes that dog thieves abandoned in an effort to save their skins on Thursday morning. Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper cited Pham Van Chuong, a police officer in Thach Dong Commune, Thach Thanh District, as saying locals had noticed four strange man riding around on a pair of motorbikes at 5:30 a.m. Bui Van Quy, a dog owner, caught the thieves red-handed electrocuting his animals with a stun gun and cried out for his neighbors' help, the paper reported. and two sacks of dogs weighing nearly 100 kilograms.
The angry mob set fire to their motorbikes as soon as they found them. Dog theft has grown increasingly common in Vietnam as the animals' meat has grown equally popular. Restaurants pay between VND100,000 and VND200,000 (US$4.8-$9.6) per dog.
The crimes have led to increasing instances of mob violence. A commune police chief in Thanh Hoa was hospitalized late last month after a pair of dog thieves beat him with iron bars.
That same month, four dog thieves in Ho Chi Minh City killed three teenage vigilantes during a high-speed chase.
The dog thieves, who later turned themselves in, confessed to electrocuting their pursuers (all riding on a single motorbike) with an improvised stun gun. The shock caused the vigilantes, who were trying to stab the fleeing thieves with knives, to crash into an electric pole.
1st July 2014 - Communal mob attack fells dog thief in southern Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - Hundreds of people in Dong Nai Province beat a suspected dog thief unconscious on Tuesday in the latest episode of dog theft violence in Vietnam.
Police in Quang Trung Commune, Thong Nhat District, said locals noticed Tran Thanh Hoai, 46, trying to feed dogs poisoned bait.
Hoai attempted to flee on his motorbike, but residents caught up to him and beat him unconscious a kilometer down the road.
Police broke up the scene and took him to hospital. Police also recovered two poisoned dogs on his motorbike.
That same day, Dong Nai police arrested Tran Cong Tam, 17, and Hoai’s nephew Tran Hung Thinh, 32, after chasing them for more than three kilometers. The two men had three dead dogs on their motorbike. Tam and Thinh said they stole the dogs from Trang Bom District and were on the way to sell them. While many families in Vietnam raise dogs as pets, many also consider the animals a delicacy. Restaurants pay between VND100,000 and VND200,000 (US$4.8-$9.6) per dog.
Because stolen dogs are often valued less than VND2 million (around US$100) – the threshold for criminal charges – the idea that thieves only suffer an administrative fine inspires some victims to resort to vigilante justice.
The motorbike of Tran Thanh Hoai remains with two poisoned dogs after the police in Dong Nai Province rushed the dog thief to hospital following a mob attack by angry locals on July 1, 2014. Photo: Thanh Chuong
22nd April 2014 - Excess feeds dog thefts and violence in Vietnam - Thanh Nien News - In rural Vietnam, there have been countless cases of thieves stealing dogs and selling them to restaurants for food. These men are willing to attack and shoot at their pursuers. In cities, dog thieves are not so brutal but they too wound dog owners, albeit emotionally. Pet dogs are often considered vulnerable and beloved member of the family. They must constantly face threats from thieves. Unlike country dogs, stolen and sold for food, pet dogs in the city are often passed on to pet shops where the owners can get them back for a ransom. Every other day, dog lover forums in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, feature a notices about an owner finding his stolen dog. People say thieves often sell dogs to specific pet shops in the city that are well-known for trading in stolen animals. These shops gouge the owners of lost pets. One such notice advised dog owners to ask a friend or relative to negotiate with pet shop owners on the price because, in some cases, they offered a very high price after the owners burst into tears upon witnessing their animal's excitement at their arrival.
In such cases, some were willing to pay ten times the market prices after the shop owner threatened to sell it to a slaughterhouse.
Many victimized dog owners watch their children fall into sorrow, skip meals, cry or lose sleep. Naturally, some vow to kill the next person who tries to steal their animal. They are frustrated because many people, who can eat whatever they like, don't hesitate to eat meat supplied, in large part, by thieves. People eating dog meat often say that any meat is edible and dog meat is just like beef, chicken or pork. Muslims don’t eat pork and Hindis don’t eat beef because of their religious beliefs. They even fight on forums over the value of a man’s life versus a dog’s.
Of course no dog's life is more precious than human’s life, though the thieves who are shooting at dog owners clearly don't think so.
That said, children don't cry over the loss of a cow or a pig. They don't demand that their parents bring it back. No one keeps a pig or a chicken to share in their sadness and happiness or to be welcomed home each day.
And unlike a dog, a pig is not a birthday gift for children. No one has been beaten to death or burned by an angry mob for stealing a cow, chicken or pig. This mass frustration has led to violations of the law and they will be punished. But people do not become so frustrated because they lose a dozen kilograms of meat. They became frustrated because of their love for the dog and also concern for the insecurity created by rampant dog thieves. But their frustration and dog thefts all are a result of Vietnam's habit of dog meat eating. If no one ate dog meat, how would thieves sell stolen dogs? If no one considered dog meat a delicacy, dog thieves in Vietnam would not run so rampant.
In many countries, dogs have been used to help disabled adults, children with autism and the police. Dogs help people because they possess skills that humans lack. In Vietnam, many people eat dog meat as a luxury not a necessity. Many order an excess of food when they go out just to show off; others pile on food at buffets that they can't eat. For all their excess, dog poses a great risk to their health. According to Dr. Tran Nguyen Giap, eating dog meat contaminated with toxocara canis, or dog round worm, can cause blindness or brain damage. It can also fatally harm the liver or spleen and can be fatal. Traces of rabies vaccination found in dog meat can cause gradual brain damage if consumed over time.
I totally agree with Dr. Giap. Dog meat is not a specialty or delicacy at all. It is simply an eating habit of some Vietnamese people. Many people have abandoned this habit. Personally, I cannot avoid thinking about the terrible images of dog thieves being burned on the road whenever seeing a sign advertising “dog meat”.
Older news 2012
12th August 2012 - Thanh Nien News - Three arrested, over 500 stolen dogs seized in central Vietnam - Three men have been arrested and more than 500 dogs seized by police from a major dog thievery operation in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai. One of the three men, Nguyen Luu, 46, was caught on Thursday morning while carrying a cage with 12 dogs. Police later found a truck with more than 500 dogs at his house, which he said were stolen from provinces in the central region to be taken to restaurants in northern Vietnam. Dog meat is a delicacy for many people in Vietnam, especially in the north. Police also arrested 24-year-old Bui Nhat Huynh, a notorious dog thief in the province who said his gang earned more than VND3 million per night from stealing around eight dogs and reselling them to dealers and local restaurants. One of Huynh's customers, Ho Van Cuong, the 56-year-old owner of a dog meat restaurant in the province, was also arrested.
Older news 2011
20th December 2011 - Thanh Nien News - Thieves attack dog owners, again - A resident in Ho Chi Minh City shot at by a dog thief has become the latest incident in a spiraling conflict between dog owners in Vietnam and those seeking to provide canine meat to restaurants serving the delicacy. Around noon on December 19, local residents found four men on two motorbikes catching a dog in Hoc Mon District's Tien Lan Hamlet, Ba Diem Commune. Pham Thanh Hai said he and other residents were standing some 20 meters away from the thieves when they caught the dog and put it into a bag. "They drove by us and threatened to kill us," he said. "Then, a man on the rear seat pointed a self-made gun at me and pulled the trigger." Hai said the gun was around half a meter in length and it shot a piece of stone that hit his face. He was taken to the communal medical station and had to have eight sutures. Dog meat is an accepted popular delicacy in Vietnam as well as some other Asian countries. In Hanoi's Duong Noi Village, hundreds of dogs are killed each day for sale. Experts say dog-eating as a custom developed as a result of poverty. One kilogram of dog meat costs about VND130,000 (US$6.2). Demand for the meat has seen many dog catchers hunt the animals on city streets for sale to butchers and restaurants. With many people keeping dogs as pets, this has led to rising conflict between the thieves and owners that have turned very violent. Several dog stealers have been caught and beaten to death. In some cases the thieves have managed to flee and their motorbikes have been burnt. A police official in Nghe An Province said the "rampant" dog thefts have drawn the ire of the public over the past several years. He said that when most local residents catch a dog thief they don't bother to call the police. Instead, they beat the thieves to death and set fire to their remains. He said lenient laws accounted for the excessive violence. He said police typically fine dog thieves when they are caught and let them go. Criminal charges are filed only in cases where the stolen property is worth at least VND2 million ($97). A dog is much cheaper than that.
24th October 2011 - Thanh Nien News - 14 arrested in central Vietnam for stealing dogs - Police in the central province of Nghe An have arrested 14 people for allegedly stealing 115 dogs in local communes to sell to restaurants, Dan Tri reported on October 23.Police busted the ring after finding four people carrying dogs on two motorbikes on October 19, according to the newswire. The suspects were planning to sell the dogs to a restaurant in Nghi Trung Commune.Further investigation led police to arrest 10 others within the next two days. Police also seized 12 motorbikes that were used by the suspects to steal dogs. The suspects, ranging in age from 18 to 23 years old, told police that since the beginning of this year, they have stolen 115 dogs on more than 80 occasions across the communes like Nghi An and Nghi Long, Dan Tri reported.