A man was beaten to death, another severely injured and their bike burnt out last night by enraged villagers in northern Vietnam who accused them of stealing dogs.
According to police of Dong Trieu dist. in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, the dead man was identified as Tran Van Kha, 35, while Bui Dinh Dang was hospitalised with multiple injuries. Both of them lived in Dong Trieu, the police said.
The police seized a home-made shotgun which allegedly belonged to the victims.
Initial investigations showed that local residents at Trieu Vu village, Dong Trieu dist., saw Kha and Dang stealing a dog in a house here at around 10 p.m. Friday.
Kha and Dang tried to flee on their bike, but were caught by the villagers after a short pursuit.
The vengeful mob tied up the suspects and kicked and pummelled them until local police arrived.
They also set fire to the duo’s bike.
The police said they are trying to identify those who involved in the beating.
They admitted that the task won’t be easy since “almost everyone in Trieu Vu village are claiming that he or she did hit the suspects.”
Angry mobs have brutally assaulted dog thieves throughout Vietnam in acts of vigilante justice.
In December 19, 2014, a northern community in Thanh Hoa province ambushed a dog thief gang, beating two to death and leaving two others barely conscious.
Dog theft in Vietnam has been fueled by those who treat the animals as a delicacy.
Restaurants pay between VND100,000 and VND200,000 (US$4.8-$9.6) per dog.
Because stolen dogs are often valued less than VND2 million (around US$100) – the threshold for criminal charges – the idea that thieves only suffer an administrative fine inspires communities to take matters into their own hands.