Bank robber foiled by wounded security guard, customers

By Phuoc Tuan, Yen Khanh   April 17, 2023 | 07:40 am PT
Bank robber foiled by wounded security guard, customers
Tran Van Phat is restrained by security guards and customers at the Sacombank transaction office in Binh Duong Province, southern Vietnam, on April 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Yen Khanh
A would-be bank robber shot a security guard who then restrained the thief with the help of bank customers Monday afternoon.

Just before staff members at a Binh Duong Province Sacombank branch in the southern town of Lai Uyen, Bau Bang District, were about to break for lunch, security guards noticed a suspicious man standing outside the bank looking in.

They asked what he was doing and he said he was waiting for a friend.

Then, just before the guards locked the front door for lunch, the suspicious man burst in, pulled out a pistol and fired a warning shot.

There were two customers in the branch at the time, and several employees.

The suspect, who police have identified as 23-year-old Binh Duong resident Nguyen Tan Phat, then pointed the gun at a female staff member and threatened her.

"This money is not yours, it belongs to the bank. If you don't give it to me, you will die," he said.

He threw his backpack at the teller and told her to fill it with money. She placed VND700 million ($29,800) in the bag.

One of two bank security guards then called the police and closed the door to prevent the thief from escaping.

The suspect then fired a round at the guard blocking the door.

Luckily, the bullet only grazed the security guard’s back and left him with only a minor flesh wound.

Another security guard along with the bank's two customers then rushed over and together with the injured guard were able to disarm and restrain Phat. The whole incident took approximately three minutes.

Police then arrived and arrested Phat, who promptly confessed to the crime at a local police station.

The Rulo gun and money that Phat robbed at the scene. Photo by Yen Khanh

The Rulo gun and money that Phat robbed at the scene. Photo by VnExpress/Yen Khanh

Phat said he planned to rob the bank after a financial company repeatedly threatened his relatives for repayment of an outstanding debt of VND20 million.

He said he bought the small Rulo handgun and 20 bullets for VND5 million via social media.

Phat chose to target the Sacombank branch on Highway 13 because of its remote location, from which he thought it would be easy to escape.

A Sacombank representative said the branch would return to work normally on Tuesday morning.

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