Street robbers who grabbed Australian woman’s bag arrested

Vietnamese police have arrested three suspects who snatched a handbag from a Vietnamese-Australian woman on a street in Ho Chi Minh City over 10 days ago.

City police officers on March 16 said they have tracked down and seized Pham Dinh Anh Khoa, 21, and Tran Quoc Tri and Phan Cao Tuan, both 34, on charges of “property robbery by snatching.”

After their arrest, the group confessed to police they had committed five recent street robberies in the city.

On searching their homes, police found and seized VND80 million (US$3,720) in cash, a necklace, two iPhones, a wristwatch, and some other valuable items.

The gang’s latest crime happened on March 5 in front of a house at 472 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street in Ward 11, District 3, and their victim was a Vietnamese-Australian woman, N.T.P.L.

That day, the three gang-members saw L. standing on the sidewalk with a handbag in her hand, so Tri and Khoa sped up their motorbikes to get close to the woman and one of them grabbed the bag from her.

They escaped the scene with the bag containing VND165 million (US$7,680), two cellphones, an iPad, a wristwatch, two earrings, and a necklace.

After receiving a report about the case, police launched an investigation and arrested the three members of the group.

All three have previous convictions of property robbery by snatching, police said.

On November 4, 2014, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court sentenced two young men to three years in jail each for snatching a cellphone from a Thai tourist in a case in which police had to fire five shots to arrest them.

The robbery occurred on April 7, 2014, when Ngo Van Thanh, 23, and Tran Hoai Thuong, 22, both from the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang, snatched the phone from Aungkana Apinyarat, a 39-year-old Thai woman, in District 1.