Accomplice in failed heist of Hanoi gold shop arrested

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Hanoi police arrested a man Friday accused of being an accomplice in the failed heist of a gold shop which left 15 people injured one day earlier.

Ta Hai Ha, 20, from the northern province of Bac Giang was sleeping when police stormed into the house of his brother, Ta Van Thanh, in Yen Dung District, nabbing Ha at 1 a.m.

Thanh, 25, was already in custody, having been arrested for attempting to rob Hoang Tin Gold Shop on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in Hanoi .

According to the police, at 11 a.m Thursday Thanh dropped off Ha at an intersection near the shop to act as a lookout and then entered the shop armed with a handmade bomb in a plastic bag, a knife and a taser.

He handed shop owner, Vu Hai Duong, a piece of paper that read: "I need money, give me or it (the bomb) will explode."

Duong feigned a willingness to cooperate, asking Thanh how much money he needed and then grabbed the bag and threw it out of his shop, shouting for help.

Thanh fled immediately. As some employees of the cosmetics shop next door chased him, the bomb exploded.

The blast broke the windows of a truck passing by, sending shards of glass into the face and left eye of the driver.

Fortunately for nearby pedestrians, the vehicle shielded them from the blast, possibly saving their lives.

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In the gold shop, all the windows and furniture on the first floor were badly damaged. A female employee of the gold shop and four female employees of the cosmetics shop suffered minor injuries.

Thanh, who attempted to escape along the rooftops of neighboring houses, was arrested in an alley 20 minutes after the explosion.

Ha fled the scene shortly after hearing the explosion. He took a xe om (motorbike taxi) to a bus station and took a bus to his hometown.

Ha confessed to police that he and Thanh planned to rob the gold shop one month earlier as a way to escape poverty.

Thanh bought five kilograms of explosives at the Chinese border in order to make a bomb. He then went to Hanoi to research which gold shop was convenient for them to rob.

He chose the Hoang Tin Gold Shop because Nguyen Thai Hoc Street is large, making for what Ha thought would be an easy getaway.

Police said the bomb used in the failed robbery was made from an industrial explosive used to break rocks.

The case is being investigated further.

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