Street snatchings plague Hoi An

By Hoang Son, Thanh Nien News

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(L-R) Dang Van Trung,  25, and Nguyen Duy Vinh, 26, were arrested in Hoi An on December 3, 2014 for robbing from locals and tourists. Photo: Hoang Son (L-R) Dang Van Trung, 25, and Nguyen Duy Vinh, 26, were arrested in Hoi An on December 3, 2014 for robbing from locals and tourists. Photo: Hoang Son

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A string of street snatchings stirred concerns about public safety this month in Hoi An, a favorite destination for tourists seeking a little peace.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Dung, the city's chief investigator for the Quang Nam Province Police Department, said they are still looking for the culprit in an iPhone snatching that occurred on the morning of December 6.
The incident left the victim, Tran Thi Hien, 52, an English teacher at Chu Van An secondary school, in critical condition.
Dung said Hien was riding her motorbike to school on Road 28/3 in Thanh Ha Ward when a motorist swept in from behind and snatched her iPhone 6.
The robbery knocked her off-kilter and sent her hurtling onto the road, where she sustained serious head injuries.
The crime occurred around 70 meters from a police station.
Witnesses on the street said the perpetrator drove a blue Exciter bike.
A day before that, an unidentified robber snatched a cell phone from a person standing on the street.
Hoi An police still don't have a suspect in that case, either.
On December 3, they arrested two local men Dang Van Trung, 25, and Nguyen Duy Vinh, 26, for seven bag and phone snatchings that targeted tourists, including foreigners.
Their final victim was a Japanese national.
Police recovered three stolen cell phones and a camera.
Dung said the police are aware of at least six snatchings that targeted locals in the past six months, and 31 cases against foreign tourists this year.
“The culprits usually sweep in on a motorbike at high speeds.”
Following the case of the injured teacher, Quang Nam Province brought in a team of expert investigators.
Dung said tourists in Hoi An should remain on high alert until they round up the perpetrators.
He advised visitors to hide their belongings while out on the street, particularly when they find themselves alone, he said.
Since many tourists have lost bags stored in baskets mounted on the front of their motorbikes, Dung recommended bike rental businesses add locking covers. 

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