Police in Ho Chi Minh City arrested a 25-year-old man on December 15 for detaining another person he claimed having stolen from him.
Tran Quoc Chien kept Tran Quang Vinh, 20, in the basement of his friend's house for two nights.
Vinh was able to escape on December 12, the third morning of his captivity, when Chien and his friend went out for breakfast.
Vinh said he had been accused of stealing an iPhone and US$500 in cash and upon being captured, was tortured with an axe and electric wires.
The police caught Chien when he returned to the house, but the house's owner, Nguyen Manh Hung, 40, escaped.
Police are looking for Hung as part of an ongoing investigation.
Vietnam's Penal Code says "illegal custody of another person" is punishable by up to two years in jail.
Police did not mention if Chien could be charged for deliberately causing injuries to the man, which could tack on another three years of jail time, according to the code.
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