6 jailed, 4 on probation in Vietnam for killing dog theft suspects

By Nguyen Phuc, Thanh Nien News

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10 people stood trial in the central province of Quang Tri on March 28 for killing two men suspected of stealing dogs
Six people received jail terms as high as three years, and four others got suspended sentences for beating two men suspected of stealing dogs to death at a trial in the central province of Quang Tri on Friday.
The defendants, who are all residents of Nhi Trung Hamlet, Gio Linh District, were part of a mob beating – a kind of vigilante justice that people in many places of Vietnam have taken against dog thefts in recent years, resulting in many deaths.
According to the indictment, as dog thefts became rampant at their hamlet, Tran Van Tien, 24, Nguyen Dang Truong, 28, Tran Van Trung, 26, and Nguyen Thanh Khang, 23, planned to catch the culprit.
Early on the morning of August 29, 2012, they were waiting at the hamlet’s entrance when they saw two strangers who were later identified as Nguyen Dang Cuong, 32, and Nguyen Xuan Trieu, 42, entering the hamlet on a motorbike.
They chased the duo while shouting to alarm local residents who then rushed to the site, with or without clubs.
Although they tried to fight back with their flashlights and by throwing chili powder at their chasers, Cuong and Tri could not escape.
They were beaten unconsciousness on the spot and succumbed to serious injuries later at hospital after being brought there by police.
Prosecutors said Tien, Truong, Trung, Khang together with Nguyen Trung Ha, 19, Nguyen Dang Huan, 60, and Nguyen Dang Son, 39, caused the death of Cuong, while Trieu was killed by Nguyen Dang Loi, 41, Nguyen Dang Quy, 41, and Nguyen Thanh Binh, 58.
The board of judges sentenced Truong to three years in prison for “deliberately injuring others.”
Tien, Trung, Quy, and Loi got jail terms of two and half years each, and Ha two years for the same charge.
Four others got suspended sentences of two years each, according to the trial held by the Quang Tri People’s Court.
All the defendants were also ordered to pay the expenses of the victims’ funerals and provide financial assistance for their two children until they are 18 years old.
Dog theft is common in Vietnam, with the dogs sold for VND60,000-120,000 (US$3-6) per kilogram to restaurants or slaughterhouses for food.
Many people have turned to vigilante justice to deal with dog thefts, beating up and badly injuring and even killing dog thieves or suspects. They believe that fines are not enough and stealing dogs should be considered a serious criminal offense.
There have been many deaths in confrontations between dog thieves and owners in Vietnam, especially in northern and central regions, including Hanoi.

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