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Armed robberies on the rise

A series of armed robberies have been reported in recent months, raising public concern over security and social order.

Seized guns and explosives at a police office in central Nghe An Province’s Do Luong District.
Seized guns and explosives at a police office in central Nghe An Province’s Do Luong District.

On October 13, a member of staff at Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) in northern Quang Ninh Province’s Uong Bi City found that one of two ATMs had been rigged with 10 mines.

On the same day, an explosion occurred in the kitchen of an official in Nghe An Province. According to police, a device was thrown into the house of Tran Xuan Luc, chairman of Dong Hop Commune’s People’s Committee, at around midnight. No injuries were reported.

On September 20, a robbery was reported at a gold shop in Son La Province. Three suspects threatened the owner with a gun, but were later arrested.

Dang Van Cuong, a lawyer from Chinh Phap Lawyers’ Office, told Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that the crime had threatened people’s lives, health and property.

The most concerning fact was that the culprits were becoming more reckless and arming themselves with dangerous weapons such as guns and explosives. They were ready for a fight to death, he said.

Easy to purchase

The reason for the increase in armed crimes was mainly the loose management of weapons trading.

Colonel Ha Thi Hong Lan, deputy director of the Centre for Crime Research and Criminal Investigation at the People’s Police Academy under the Ministry of Public Security, said that control over weapons such as guns and grenades remained lax.

Cuong said the Law on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Combat Gear and Government Decree 79/2018 stipulated specifically which individuals and organisations were allowed to manage and use weapons and explosives.

The problem was a lack of supervision.

Smuggling had worsened the problem, he added.

Skills needed

According to experts, more measures should be taken to address the recent outbreak of crime.

Lieutenant Colonel Dao Trung Hieu a criminologist at the Ministry of Public Security, said to avoid armed bank robberies, staff needed training.

Local authorities, in co-operation with local police, should install cameras and hotlines.

Safety was the first priority, he added.

Colonel Le Ngoc Phuong, deputy head of the ministry’s Criminal Police Department, said the recent bank robberies showed weak security at banks.

Colonel Lan said that control over the use and purchase of weapons and explosives must be tightened, and strict penalties for violators should be applied.