Saigon crime rate surges as pandemic hits economy

By Dang Khoa   April 18, 2020 | 08:36 pm PT
Saigon crime rate surges as pandemic hits economy
Police inspect drivers with suspicious behaviors on April 14, 2020. Photo courtesy of District 8's police.
HCMC’s crime rate increased by 10 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, with authorities blaming it on the Covid-19 outbreak.

Empty streets and the economic hardship caused by the pandemic have caused the surge in crime, especially robberies, they said.

At around midnight on April 14 police officers stopped two men on motorbikes behaving suspiciously in District 8 and found knives under their seats. They were taken to the ward police station after they claimed they had bought the knives from a shop for home use.

Since they did not wear helmets or carry their licenses, the police fined them and seized their vehicles and knives.

Police were afraid that both suspects had bad intentions, saying no knife shops are open in the middle of the night and no one brings along knives when going out, so they escorted both men to a police station.

The patrol officers in District 8 said they apprehended many people on the street with weapons in the past two months.

In many robberies, the accused said they committed the crime because they had lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

On March 30 the police arrested Huu Hoang Giang and Le Tuan Thanh for robbing and intending to rape a woman in Binh Thanh District.

They confessed to committing two robberies earlier in Thu Duc District.

On March 25 a French couple was robbed at knifepoint in downtown Saigon. Police officers showed up and caught the teenage robber.

Authorities have urged people not to go out to comply with stay-at-home orders and avoid getting mugged. If there is a need to leave home, they should not go alone, especially early in the morning or late at night when the streets are deserted.

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