Four face charges in Hanoi failed gold heist

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Police in Hanoi have asked prosecutors to charge four people involved in attempts to rob two local gold shops using bombs as a threat, Dan Tri reported Saturday.

The news website said that Ta Van Thanh, 25, Ta Hai Ha, 20, Phi Van Manh, 22, and Bui Thanh Kha, 22, will be charged with attempted murder, robbery, and the illegal use, trade and storage of explosives.

The men were arrested after their failed attempt to rob a gold shop last month left 14 people injured by a bomb blast. An earlier attempt failed as well, but no casualties were reported.

According to police's findings, early this year Thanh bought a total of 36 kilograms of explosives for VND3.6 million (US$172) and 20 detonators from Kha, planning to rob a gold shop. Kha was a worker engaged in using explosives for stone mining in the northern province of Lang Son.

Thanh together with his younger brother Ha, and his cousin Manh made bombs using the materials. He also bought mobile phones and children's toys with remote control to activate the bombs from afar, police said.

In April, Thanh brought ten kilograms of explosives in a backpack and entered the Phuc Sinh gold shop in Ba Dinh District, with Manh waiting outside.

He gave the backback to the shop's staff along with a piece of paper that said: "Cooperate with us, or (the explosives) will be detonated. Call the number"¦," Dan Tri quoted the police's findings as saying.

Thanh left the shop and waited outside with Manh, but the shop did not contact them. They called the shop after a while, but wrongly dialed the number of a nearby gold shop.

Upon discovering the mistake, the duo left.

Meanwhile, the gold shop owner threw the backpack into the To Lich River, believing that someone was trying to play trick on them.

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Later, Thanh used 13 kilograms of explosives to make two bombs: one was stuffed with more than ten kilograms of explosives and designed to be detonated with a mobile phone, while the other was made to be activated to by a remote controller.

On June 20, Thanh and Ha chose Hoang Tin Gold Shop, also in Ba Dinh District, as the next target.

The next day, they went to the shop on a motorbike. Ha waited outside while Thanh entered the shop with the bombs in two different bags. Using the same modus operandi as earlier, he gave them and a piece of paper reading: "Cooperate with us, or the bombs will be detonated." 

However, the staff screamed for help and the owner Vu Hai Duong threw the bags carrying the bombs out of the shop.

Thanh tried to flee the scene but was immediately arrested.

Meanwhile, Ha, seeing his brother being chased, detonated one of the bombs with a mobile phone, injuring 14 people.

The younger brother was arrested next day in Bac Giang Province.

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