'I'm no hero': Vietnamese man stops attacker in Germany

By Xanh Le   July 7, 2023 | 12:25 am PT
A 62-year-old Vietnamese expat, who has been praised for taking down an attacker in Würzburg City, has said he "only did what needed to be done."

In the past few days, German news sites and social media have spread the story of Hoang Van Long, calling him "hero" and "brave" after he took down a 26-year-old man who was threatening passers-by with a knife on a street in Würzburg on June 30.

It was early afternoon on the final day of June and Long, who has been living in Germany for 40 years, was working at a fast-food restaurant as the main chef.

Around 1:30 p.m. local time, a man ran onto the street, swinging a knife.

The police soon arrived.

Before the man could hurt anyone, he dropped the knife by accident and a passer-by quickly took it away.

However, the man remained a threat. As he approached the restaurant where Long was working, he started to swing his bag around threatening and yelling. Police surrounded him, armed with pepper spray.

All of a sudden, Long rushed out from the restaurant. With his bare hands, he pounced on the young man from behind and brought him under control.

Police immediately jumped in and arrested the man, who was later identified as a German-Syrian.

Hoang Van Long takes down an attacker in in Würzburg City on June 30, 2023. Video by Twitter/@Libra08101

"He is the hero of Würzburg!," German newspaper Bild said on July 4.

After, many five-star ratings pouring in for the restaurant, with comments such as "Hero!" "Feel very safe eating here," or "Justice served on the menu!"

Speaking with VnExpress on the phone on Thursday, Long said he has become well-known in Würzburg in recent days as local media in Germany have taken turn to write about him and people came to "praise me and shake hands with me and asked me why I was so brave."

Long said it was "not a big deal" and that he does not have much to tell as the whole incident only lasted a minute.

"I found it disturbing so I just simply took action and did not think much about it," he said.

The 62-year-old said he has practiced Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, since he was still a child in Vietnam, so did not feel afraid.

He said the case reminded him of two years ago when a man used a knife and stabbed two people to death at a store not far from a restaurant he was working at, which he did not want to happen again.

He also said this is not the first time he helped the police, as he had stopped thieves and robbers from committing crimes before.

He added that his wife has told him to stop his vigilantism as she was worried for him.

"There are cameras everywhere so I’m not afraid they [the criminals] will take revenge on me," he said. "I just continue to work at the restaurant like any other day. I do not think of myself as a hero at all."

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