Pickpocket gang that targeted HCMC backpacker's area busted

By Dam Huy, Thanh Nien News

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Huynh Thi Ngoc Dung (C), 29, and her two accomplices were arrested for pickpocketing foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh CIty on Thursday. Photos provided by police Huynh Thi Ngoc Dung (C), 29, and her two accomplices were arrested for pickpocketing foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh CIty on Thursday. Photos provided by police

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Ho Chi Minh City police have arrested 12 suspects of a pickpocketing gang that targeted foreign tourists in the backpacker’s area.
The police said they uncovered the gang after several weeks of investigation. They believe the gang were responsible for more than 400 pickpocketing thefts in the city downtown.
Huynh Thi Ngoc Dung, the alleged gang leader, and Truong Hoang Nam were arrested at 3 a.m. Thursday when they were fleeing after stealing a iPhone 4 from an American tourist, who was identified only as Michall H., in Bui Vien St.
The police later arrested the other suspected gang members on Thursday and Friday.
Most of them, including Dung, are being investigated on the charge of stealing property, while the others are alleged of trading stolen goods, according to the police.
The suspects, including three women and five men, claimed they had pickpocketed just 15 mobile phones from foreigners in the downtown since May.

Members of the ring in police custody.
According to the police, the team members were assigned with different tasks.
One woman chewing-gums peddler would look for tourists with valuables belongings.
Some other women, including Dung, who also disguised as street peddlers, would approach and distract the target before grabbing their wallets or mobile phones.
Several male members would wait on their bike to pick up the women and flee the scene, as well as to block the victims from chasing.
One man, meanwhile, owned a mobile phone shop on Tran Hung Dao St. where they sold the stolen goods.
The police said that investigation in going on.

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