Thailand police catch Vietnamese extortionists preying on compatriots

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Three Vietnamese at a Bangkok police station for robbing compatriots. Photo courtesy of Bangkok police

Police in Bangkok have arrested three Vietnamese men belonging to an extortion gang that preyed on their compatriots.

Tran Ta Huan, 25, Ngo Duc Tang, 19, and Dang Huu Lanh, 18, were arrested, but two other gang members escaped, police said May 17.

They said the five were armed with knives when they tied up two Vietnamese men, then sleeping at a restaurant on the night of May 9, and robbed them off two mobile phones and 7,000 baht (US$235) in cash.

One of the victims received cuts on his arm but the injuries were not severe, police said.

The three said they were having personal conflicts with the victims, Nguyen Van Vo and Nguyen Van Nam, but police said the men belonged to an extortion gang that preyed on Vietnamese nationals working in Thailand.

Initial investigations have found the gang is connected to the murder of a Vietnamese leader of another extortion gang in Thailand in March, in which case, police have arrested five other suspects.

One of them, 23-year-old Tran Thanh Lam, has said that he killed Hoang Trong Hung, whose body was found in a garbage bin in Bangkok on March 20, in self-defense. Lam said Hung demanded 50,000 baht ($1,700) for helping him enter Thailand to work and then threatened to kill him when he said he did not have the money.

Police are investigating the cases further.

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