Snatchers on bike arrested in HCMC backpacker area

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Nguyen Thi Hoang Yen (R) and Pham Phuoc Thong at the police station. Photo credit: VnExpress Nguyen Thi Hoang Yen (R) and Pham Phuoc Thong at the police station. Photo credit: VnExpress

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Ho Chi Minh City police caught two people snatching a bag of a Russian tourist on Bui Vien Street, the city’s backpackers corner, in the early hours on Tuesday.
Police said a team of plainclothes officers were patrolling the area when the spotted Nguyen Thi Hoang Yen, 23, and her pillion rider Pham Phuoc Thong, 20, who were driving around the area in a suspicious manner at 2 a.m.
As the duo approached a Russian woman walking on Bui Vien St., Thong snatched her bag and Yen sped away. She drove dangerously in zigzags in an attempt to escape police pursuit, officers said.
At a section of Bui Vien and Nguyen Cu Trinh Streets, a police vehicle caught up and an officer kicked and crashed their bike to arrest both.
Police returned the bag with a cell phone, some jewelry and money inside to the Russian victim.
Yen told the police she was driving Thong around "for leisure" and “suddenly thinking about snatching bags” of foreign tourists in the area.
Police are investigating the case.
Not far from Tuesday's crime scene, two other snatchers were arrested in June after their attempt to rob a bag was foiled by the owner, another Russian tourist.
Balina Natalia, 34, was walking with her friend on Ton That Tung Street when two men snatched her bag. But as they were trying to escape, Natalia managed to shove them to the ground before passers-by helped her arrest them.

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