Two men who were caught red-handed stealing dogs near Ho Chi Minh City on Monday have told police they made VND10 million (US$470) a day selling the canines to restaurants.
Nguyen Van Dung, 29, and Thai Dien Kha, 27, were arrested at 2.30 a.m. Monday when they were carrying four dead dogs and an alive German shepherd dog, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Wednesday.
The police said the duo equiped themselves with a home-made stun gun, which can shoot electrical arrows connected to two motorbike batteries by wire. The police seized the stun gun, 17 arrows, two saws and VND3 million, the paper said.
Dung and Kha said they went out every midnight hunting for dogs along National Highway 22 from Cu Chi District in the neighboring Ho Chi Minh City to Go Dau District in Tay Ninh.
They checked out the capture dogs at Dung’s house from between 2 to 4 a.m. before bringing them to buyers, including wholesalers or slaughterhouses that supply to dog meat restaurants.
The duo said they often caught eight or nine dogs every night and sold them all for around VND10 million ($470).
They said they would shoot anyone who tried to stop them.
Dung and his wife Nguyen Thi Van have been running a dog meat restaurant themselves in Tay Ninh.
The police have been following Dung to check his supply.
Dog theft in Vietnam has been fueled by those who treat the animals as a delicacy.
Restaurants pay between VND100,000 and VND200,000 ($4.8-$9.6) per dog.
With valuable dogs like a German shepherd dog, slaughterhouses would offer to resell them to their owners.
Dog thieves only face criminal charge when the stolen dogs are valued at VND2 million (around $100) or above – the threshold for criminal charges in Vietnam.
The idea that thieves only suffer an administrative fine inspires communities to take matters into their own hands.
Angry mobs have brutally assaulted dog thieves throughout Vietnam in acts of vigilante justice.
However, one such retribution ended deadly
in HCMC last June when four dog thieves shot a stun gun at three knife-armed teenagers chasing after them on a motorbike.
The three boys lost control, hit the road and died.