A Ho Chi Minh City court on Friday handed down jail terms of up to five years to 12 members of a pickpocketing gang that stole mobile phones and other belongings of foreigners in the backpacker area.
Ringleader Huynh Thi Ngoc Dung, 31, received five years while ten others were sentenced to between one and four years. The last one was sentenced to two years’ probation.
According to the indictment, the gang was responsible for 26 thefts in 2014 and earned around VND51 million (US$2,275) from selling the stolen mobile phones.
In December 2014, the police busted the gang after several weeks of investigation.
According to the police, they usually gathered at the Cong Quynh-Bui Vien intersection from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. every day.
They drove motorbikes along Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham and Tran Hung Dao to look for male foreigners who looked drunk after coming out of restaurants and bars.
Some women would approach and distract the target by groping them before grabbing their wallets or mobile phones.
Other male members would wait on their bikes to pick up the women and flee the scene, as well as to block the victims from chasing.