Vietnamese volunteer crime fighter detained over traffic accident

TN News

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A member of a crime fighting club, a volunteers-based police assistance unit, in the southern province of Binh Duong has been detained after hitting woman on the road as chasing a robbery suspect.

Thach Dat, 22, was escorted to local police station for the detainment earlier this week and will be held in custody for three months.

He can receive criminal charges for traffic violations, unless he can bring up firm evidence or witnesses that can prove he caused the accident because of being distracted by the suspect, said prosecutors in Thu Dau Mot town of the province on Saturday.

People at his club said Dat was driving his girlfriend at around 10 p.m. on November 22 last year, when he saw two people on a motorbike with a television and gave chase, suspecting it was a robbery case, but he hit Pham Thi Thu Hien, 24, at a T-junction when the woman was walking with her bicycle across the road.

Both he and the woman had to be hospitalized and she suffered injuries that has cost her family VND60 million (US$2,880).

Dat was detained after the woman's family filed a complaint about him not helping them financially.

Her mother said, "I don't want Dat to go to jail. I just want him to compensate us for the money I have spent on her hospitalization and medical fees as I had to borrow it from the bank."


Vigilantes tread shaky legal ground

But his club members said Dat is very poor himself, making a living as a waiter at a café.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, the head of the club, said Dat has been a member of Phu Hoa Ward's volunteer crime fighting club for several years now and has helped with many cases, including 126 this year alone.

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