2 dog thieves arrested for murdering official in northern Vietnam

TN News

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Police in the northern province of Bac Ninh announced Wednesday that they have arrested two men who allegedly fatally shot a local official after being caught stealing his dog last month.

Nguyen Duc Bien, 28, turned himself into police after a warrant for him and his friend, 33-year-old Nguyen Van Hien was issued last week, said Colonel Nguyen Cong Nghiep, vice director of Bac Ninh police department.

Hien was arrested in the province on Wednesday in the place where he was hiding, Nghiep said.

The men stand accused of murdering Nguyen Trung Hieu, a 30-year-old official with the Bac Ninh People's Committee's office, on October 23.

Police said they have also arrested Nguyen Van Quang, 28, and 36-year-old Nguyen The Anh, for "harboring criminals."

According to police, Hieu tied his dog to a tree in front of his house the morning of October 23, and went inside to do chores.

Soon afterwards he heard the dog yelping, and rushed outside where he saw two men on a motorbike grabbing the animal and fleeing.

Hieu cried for help and ran after them.

One of the men then took out a gun and shot him in his chest. Neighbors took the official to hospital, but he died on the way.

Hien was the one who pulled the trigger, Dan Tri newspaper reported Wednesday.

Dog theft is common in Vietnam, with the dogs sold for VND60,000 VND120,000 (US$3-6) per kilogram to restaurants or slaughterhouses for food.

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There have been many deaths in confrontations between dog thieves and owners. Many say fines are not enough and stealing dogs should be considered a serious criminal offense.

Many communities have turned to vigilante justice, with mobs often beating up and badly injuring and even killing dog thieves in the northern and central regions, including Hanoi. However, thieves have recently started to fight back.

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