Angry mob beats dog thief unconscious in central Vietnam

By VnExpress   November 2, 2016 | 11:42 pm PT
Police rescued the man but seized five dead dogs and bait.

Police in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai rescued a suspected dog thief from an angry mob after he was beaten unconscious on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old man is being treated in hospital.

Officers received a tip-off and arrived in Ia Kenh Commune in the provincial capital Pleiku on Wednesday where they found several locals dragging the unconscious man from a stream.

Police also seized his motorbike, five dead dogs and dog bait.

Locals said they noticed five dogs were missing and that two strangers were in town carrying a suspicious bag, so they decided to chase after them.

The men abandoned their bike during the chase and jumped into the stream. Locals caught up with one of them and beat him heavily, while the other man escaped.

Police are investigating the case.

Dog theft has become common in Vietnam, fueling a market that consumes around 5 million dogs per year, second only to China, which consumes roughly 20 million.

However, dog thieves are rarely punished, and nor are the people who buy and sell stolen meat.

Vietnam's law only treats theft as a criminal offense if the object's value exceeds VND2 million, less than $100. Due to rising pressure from both inside and outside of the country, legislators are considering a provision that would criminalize the theft of a pet.

Vigilante mobs often justify their actions, which sometimes prove fatal, due to the lack of legal repercussions for the crime.

In September, five men in the northern province of Quang Ninh were arrested for beating a suspected dog thief to death.

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