Militia savagely beat suspected dog thieves in southern Vietnam

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Two men falsely accused of stealing dogs were beaten Friday night by local militiamen to the point that they required hospitalization in southern Vietnam's Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province .

Domesticated dogs are frequently stolen and sold to restaurants in Vietnam.  

However, Le Hoang Dien and Duong Quang Nhat, both 29, said they were not involved in stealing dogs but were assaulted nonetheless, after being chased for more than 10 kilometers.

Dien, deputy director of a local transport company, said he and Nhat were driving a motorbike to visit a friend and were attacked on the way back.

Around 10 p.m. some persons turned their flashlights on Dien's motorbike, and the road was rather deserted at the time, so he sped up to avoid the men he feared were gangsters.

Dien only stopped after realizing the persons after him were militia forces, who ended up beating him and his friend immediately, before handcuffing them and bringing them to a street corner.

"[At the corner,] there was someone pressing his foot onto my head, scraping my face against the road. They found VND1.5 million on my body and said it was money I earned from selling a stolen dog. They kept my phone and wallet," Dien said.

He said the men also checked his friend but they only found a little money so they returned it to him.

Then they were beaten more with canes.

"People nearby also joined the beating and kicking after they heard that we were dog thieves," Dien said.

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Police officers arrived sometime later and brought Dien and Nhat to the station, where they were kept until the next morning.

Doctors at Ba Ria Hospital said Dien broke ribs, a bone in his foot, and several teeth, besides sustaining multiple injuries to his face and head.

Doan Quan Luong, police chief of Chau Pha Commune, said that he was investigating the case while visiting the two men at the hospital on Sunday.

But Luong has admitted that it's "totally wrong" for the militia to beat the men. "The force is to blame in this situation."

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