“Street knights” take justice into their own hands

By Nguyen Tuan, Dam Tuan   March 30, 2016 | 07:48 am GMT+7

While driving his daughter to school, Nguyen Thanh Hai recognized a motorbike thief. He quickly put his daughter in a taxi while setting off in pursuit of the suspect.

The incident occurred in the afternoon of March 26 in Thu Dau Mot city, Binh Duong province. Hai recognized the thief from security camera footage.

After his daughter was safely in the taxi, Hai followed the suspect while calling some of his associates for support.

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Alleged thief Tran Van Dat (white T-shirt) is escorted by the "street knights". Photo: baodautu

On Thich Quang Duc street, the group forced 28-year-old Tran Van Dat to stop the stolen bike and escorted him to the Phu Hoa police station.

Groups of ordinary citizens who take it upon themselves to patrol their neighborhoods and catch criminals are known in Southern Vietnam as "hiep si duong pho", which means “street knights”. They are a response to the seemingly intractable street crime problems in the region.  

At 4 p.m the following day, Hai again sprung into action after receiving a call reporting a burglary. Hai and his band scouted the area and identified two suspects at Huynh Van Cuu street in Phu Cuong ward.

The two burglars sped away on motorcycles to escape, throwing away a bag of heroine. After a long chase, the group of vigilantes caught the pair and took them to Phu Cuong police station.

The alleged burglars were Nguyen Minh Tam, 17, from Binh Duong province, and Doan Tan Thanh, 31, also from Binh Duong.