Police in Ho Chi Minh City announced the arrest of six men and a woman on Thursday, for posing as police officers and robbing two people in unrelated incidents.
In the first case, officers in Thu Duc District reportedly detained Mai Van Dinh, 21, and Nguyen Quy, 24, from the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, to investigate their role in the alleged crime.
According to their account, Dinh and Quy pulled up next to a 21-year-old woman on their motorbike as she was walking down Kha Van Can Street.
The pair presented fake identity cards and claimed to be police investigators. Then, they demanded the woman present her personal papers.
Police officers on patrol spotted the crime and arrested the fake cops as they tried to grab their victim's purse.
In the other case, Thai Quoc Vinh, 29, the alleged ring-leader of a five-man gang, was arrested on Tuesday while attempting to collect VND10 million (US$470) from Dang Van Sinh at a café in District 1.
The shakedown was allegedly arranged to recover a debt.
Police have been keeping tabs on Vinh and his alleged accomplices since July 16 when Sinh, a 27-year-old from the neighboring Binh Duong Province, reported that a group of men led by Vinh had flashed police IDs and taken his iPhone and Blackberry at a café in District 10.
The gang reportedly took Sinh's luxury motorbike and wallet, which then contained his personal papers and VND500,000.
Vinh’s arrest led the police to catch Luong Anh Dung, 40, Le Thi Thu Dung, 28, Pham Ngoc Hai, 46, and Le Van Tai, 23.
A suspect identified only as Huy remains at large.
The police have recovered Sinh’s motorbike, which the gang pawned for VND20 million, and a red hospital membership card which the gang evidently flashed as though it were a police identification card.
Members of the gang said 28-year-old Dung hired them to recover VND15 million that Sinh borrowed from her in 2011 and welched on the debt. Sinh said his business had suffered losses and he had promised to return the money as soon as he could.
Dung offered the gang half of the debt.
The gang members set up a meeting with Sinh by ordering an antique he was selling online to be delivered to the café.
When Sinh arrived, they presented the red card and demanded payment. Sinh hadn't brought much cash, so they took his cellphones.
Huy pressed a machete at his neck and forced him to agree to return the money in two months.
Vinh was arrested this week after police set up a sting.