Vietnam’s Vigilante Bust Crooks And Catch Criminals

In a city of 8.6 million people, petty crimes and similar minor crimes are a growing problem. Ho Chi Minh City is currently ranked third as the least-safe city worldwide, according to the Safe Cities Index of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The US government said in a report on crime and safety last year that Vietnam’s police are underfunded and lacked training which has led crime victims to turn to vigilantes instead of the police in hope for a faster response.

Going after petty criminals, bike riding vigilantes chase crimes through Vietnam’s largest city and the neighbouring province of Binh Duong, where rising crime is becoming a concern.

One vigilante, Nguyen Thanh Hai, 47, gets about 50 to 100 calls for help everyday about robberies, drugs and even kidnappings.

During the 21 years of catching criminals he has helped to catch over 4,000 criminals which is then turned over to the police, even though he gets no monetary reward.

“You don’t think about money when you do this,” he said to AFP.

He is among a group of about 30 men in Ho Chi Minh City and 1,500 in the province, who have modified their bikes with police-like sirens and upgraded engines that can reach speeds of more than 170kph (106mph).

Although they are barred from carrying any weapons, many among them receive police training on legal issues and use martial arts for self-defense.

Just to prove how dangerous the job is, last month, two were stabbed to death and three were badly injured.

Nguyen Viet Sin, one of the vigilante described a fight with a suspected thief who cut himself and rubbed blood into Sin’s wound which he later learned that the suspect had HIV. But it hadn’t hindered his passion for justice.

“I wanted to quit, but after I recovered and could still see clips of robberies on social media, I hit the road again,” he said.

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