'Stubborn' criminal ignores 30 warning shots, kills himself in Vietnam metro

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Tran Quang Khai (R) in a file photo provided by the police, and Pham Anh in a photo taken while he was in police custody after the duo's bank robbery attempt was foiled in late November 2012

A die-hard criminal from the central city of Da Nang who stabbed himself to death in Ho Chi Minh City last week rather than give himself to a police team chasing him surprised the cops with his "stubborness."

A team of senior police officers from the southern province of Ca Mau said the tough criminal kept fighting even after 30 warning shots were fired before killing himself with his knife. 

Tran Quang Khai, 31, had escaped after fighting local police who discovered a bank robbery attempt last month.

Khai and another man were spotted attempting to rob a branch of Agribank and another of Dong A bank that neighbors each other in Ca Mau.

His accomplice, Pham Anh, was arrested immediately, but Khai managed to escape after injuring two police officers with rubber bullets and robbing the motorbike of a resident at knife-point.

Information from one of Khai's lovers brought the police to a café in Ho Chi Minh City on the night of December 22.

As soon as he was confronted, Khai fought back with a clasp knife.

Major Nguyen Thuan Tung said for one moment, he and another officer managed to bring Khai down, but in trying to avoid the knife that was being swung about wildly, they lost him again.

The officer said Khai kept running and swinging his knife at any officer trying to come close to him, despite the firing of 30 warning shots.

Khai was chased for around 400 meters until he reached a fence. He had difficulties climbing over it to get away from the police, so he killed himself instead of getting caught.

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Tung said Khai was the "most stubborn" criminal that he and his colleagues have faced. Other criminals typically surrendered after one or two warning shots, he added.

The police had learned about Khai ordering a gun, and they decided to arrest him before he got his hands on the weapon, Tung said.  

"If he'd had a gun, some officers and residents would have been killed in the last chase," another Ca Mau officer said.

The provincial police first looked for Khai around his hometown in the central city of Da Nang, where they found that he was a "respected" figure among the local underworld with a lengthy criminal history since 1997, when he was 16.

His many convictions included those for attempted murder, robbery, and illegal storage of military weapons.

Most robberies targeted banks and gold shops, earning Khai and his gang hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He was wanted by Da Nang police after he and his gang stabbed a lieutenant to death and injured another officer in 2009, and also by police in the southern province of Long An for a robbery in 2010.

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