Former police captain jailed for robbing gold stores

By Vo Thanh   September 21, 2023 | 02:30 am PT
Former police captain jailed for robbing gold stores
Ngo Van Quoc, a former police officer, stands trial in Thua Thien-Hue Province, September 21, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Thanh
A former police captain who used to work as a prison warden has received jail terms for raiding two gold shops in central Vietnam, and throwing gold into the street.

Ngo Van Quoc, 39, will be jailed for eight years and three months, a court in Thua Thien – Hue Province announced Thursday on two charges of "asset appropriation" and "appropriating and illegally using military weapons."

At around 12:30 p.m. on July 31 last year, Quoc took an AK47 rifle to the gold shops at Dong Ba Market in Hue, threatened the staff and shot at the glass shelves where gold items were displayed.

He then took the gold items and threw them into the street for people to pick, shouting "Gold for the poor," according to eyewitnesses.

He repeated the stunt for about 10 minutes before leaving the scene and walking along Tran Hung Dao Street in front of the market to reach Trinh Cong Son Park.

As he left the market, people rushed to the scene to collect the gold.

Around 2 p.m., Quoc dropped his gun and surrendered after a 15-minute negotiation with local police.

People rush to pick up gold at Dong Ba Market, July 31, 2022. Video by VnExpress/Vo Thanh

At that time, he was working as a warden at Binh Dien prison in Huong Tra Town of Thua Thien-Hue.

Speaking in court, he said he was stressed at work and not mentally stable.

After committing the crime, he had suicidal thoughts but considered his family and did not harm himself.

Attending the trial, Colonel Tran Chin, who was the supervisor of Quoc at the prison, said Quoc had shown abnormal signs and left his post several times before the gold robbery.

Questioned by the prosecutors about why Quoc was still allowed a weapon given his condition, Chin said standing guard was already the simplest job at the prison.

Quoc's lawyer said after getting injured in a traffic accident back in 2014, his client started to show abnormal signs in his mental health.

Another trial will be held later for owners of the two gold shops to demand compensation from Quoc and his family.

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