Police in south central Vietnam Saturday said an overseas Vietnamese had organized a major gold shop robbery in Binh Thuan Province.
The robbers also hit and killed a local while fleeing with more than 30 ounces of gold, worth around US$65,000, in a car Friday night.
Nguyen Mark Joseph, also known as Khanh, 35, was caught the same night with his relative Nguyen Phuoc Hai, 34, and identified as the leader of the robbery.
The two were caught as their car overturned as it made a lot of turns while being chased by police and several local people.
Two other people involved in the robbery were dropped off with the robbed gold, they told the police.
Khanh, an ex-convict in the US for tax evasion and drug trafficking, has been in Ho Chi Minh City for the last three years allegedly pursuing a red wine business project.
He had been short of cash lately and thought about robbing some gold shops to make money, Khanh told the police. He sought the assistance of Hai to carry out his crime. Hai was the chef at a resort in Binh Thuan, earning VND12 million a month.
Nguyen Hai Dang, a local traffic police officer who participated in the chase, said the robbers had pointed a gun and fired at the police twice. It was later found to carry rubber bullets.
Khanh said that they had no intention of killing anyone.
Some irate locals had beaten Khanh and Hai with canes and burned their car, forcing the police to shoot into the air to stop them.
Pham Quy Ngo, vice minister of the Public Security, on Saturday sent a letter of commendation to Binh Thuan Police with VND48 million as reward to four police units and four individuals for their help in catching the robbers.