A Mekong Delta court has handed down jail terms ranging from 3 years to 15 years to five men who robbed more than VND262 million (US$12,270) of cash and jewelry from an 87-year-old beggar in 2013.
Tran Quoc Viet, 29, got the longest term of 15 years for masterminding the robbery on December 21, 2013.
The Dong Thap People’s Court also sentenced Nguyen Thai Tai to 10 years, Le Duc Duy to eight years, Cao Van Sang to five years and Tran Van Thanh Danh to three years, all for robbery conviction.
The victim of the robbery, Nguyen Van Cung, told the court that the young men robbed him of 25 taels of gold, then worth more than VND800 million ($38,000), that he kept in his ragged clothes.
Most of them are said to be gold rings. Cung said he bought the gold with the sum he begged for during more than 20 years.
However, investigations found he lost more than eight taels of gold, valuing more than VND262 million.
Cung was robbed when he was sleeping at night on December 21, 2013 at a market in Dong Thap's Tam Nong District .
The convicted said they had seen Cung buying gold jewelries and keeping them in his ragged clothes.
After Cung reported the robbery, police arrested the five after noticing their abnormal spending.
Cung said he had earned the gold after several decades of begging. He reportedly spent little on meals and clothes.
Restaurant and café owners on the streets that he frequented usually gave away some of their portions to him.
News of his loss of gold broke out to the surprise of many people including his donors.
In August, 2014, police returned more than VND200 million of cash and jewelry to Cung. They had handed the old beggar VND9.8 million late 2013.
Police said Viet’s wife, Oanh, have fled with more than VND50 million.