2 dog thieves wanted for killing official in northern Vietnam

TN News

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Police in the northern province of Bac Ninh Friday said they are hunting down two men who allegedly shot a local official to death after being caught stealing his dog earlier this week.

Nguyen Van Hien, 34, and Nguyen Duc Bien, 27, are now wanted nationally for murdering Nguyen Trung Hieu, a 30-year-old official with the Bac Ninh People's Committee's office, police said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Quy, 27, and Hien's brother, 37-year-old Nguyen The Anh, are being investigated on charges of "harboring criminals."

According police, on Tuesday morning, Hieu, the Bac Ninh official, tied his dog to a tree in front of his house, and went inside for some 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 his way there.

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 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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