Foreign tourists beaten, robbed in Saigon

By Quoc Thang   June 13, 2018 | 09:46 pm PT
Foreign tourists beaten, robbed in Saigon
The suspects are held in police station for investigation. Photo by VnExpress/Nhat Vy
Local gang chatted up foreign couple and invited them for a late night snack before robbing them.

Ho Chi Minh City Police detained three Vietnamese men on Thursday as suspects in a robbery involving two foreign tourists.

The victims of the robbery were Belgian Thomas Bonnert, 28, and his girlfriend Astrio Manon Fanny Ferrari, 25, of France.

They told the police that they got acquainted with the men at a bar in District 2 on Tuesday night. It appears that the men were sitting close to the couple and spotted the French woman carrying a handbag with valuable things in it.

The men, aged 22 to 25, struck up a friendship with the couple and everyone had a cheerful party. But, as the foreign couple walked home, the gang followed them on a motorbike and invited them for a late night snack.

After the foreigners accepted the invitation, the three men led them to a quiet, deserted street and beat them up ferociously, forcing them to flee, leaving their belongings behind.

The gang allegedly unlocked the saddle to take an iPhone and VND6 million ($263) in cash from the French woman's handbag.

When the assault and robbery was reported, city police swung into action and tracked down the suspects on Wednesday afternoon. The men have been detained pending further investigation.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest metropolis, is one of the most visited destinations in the country, with 3.2 million foreigners arriving in the first five months of 2018.

However, increasing complaints about street crime, traffic chaos and pollution are robbing the city of its gloss.

Vietnam has received 139,000 French visitors so far this year, up 13 percent from a year ago while the number of Belgian visitors reached 12,869, up 11 percent year-on-year.

The Vietnamese government recently approved a three-year extension of visa exemptions for Europeans visiting Vietnam.

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