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Fake cops arrested after targeting tourists in Saigon robbing spree

By Quoc Thanh   June 14, 2016 | 11:33 pm PT
Ho Chi Minh City Police yesterday arrested the ring leader and two members of a gang who have been impersonating police officers to rob foreign tourists.

Dang Tuan Thanh, 21, the ring leader, had taken advantage of his ability to speak a little English to communicate with foreigners, pretending to be a police officer and asking them to hand over their luggage for inspection. Then he would just simply rev up his motorbike and drive off with their belongings.

A British tourist was the first to report he had been robbed by a fake cop. The “cop” stopped his motorbike while he was driving from District 1 to Dien Bien Phu Street.

The “cop”, with a gun in his hands, asked the tourist to hand over his personal legal documents and pay a fine for a “traffic violation”. The tourist did not have cash with him, so the fake cop “escorted” the tourist to an ATM where he stole VND8 million ($360) and a mobile phone.


Dang Tuan Thanh, 21, the ring leader, was arrested yesterday. Photo by

On May 26, a Japanese was listening to music on his Iphone 6 while exercising on Thu Thiem Bridge in District 2 when a man approached him and asked him to hand over his phone for inspection. The man said he was a cop and suspected he was using the phone for criminal purposes. The “cop” snatched the phone and ran off with it. On May 31, a Dutch tourist lost an Ipad, a camera and VND2 million ($90) to the same scam.

Police arrested Thanh last Friday at his rented house in District 7. They also seized luggage he had stolen from tourists and a fake police card that said: "Police Office on Drug Crime."

According to police, Tuan was once a motorbike taxi driver ('xe om') and he used the money for drugs.

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