Many individuals are making a killing by working as ‘beggars’ at filling stations in Ho Chi Minh City and acting just like muggers who are ready to swear at or use weapons to threaten those refusing to give money to them, a VnExpress newspaper investigation has found.
One of these muggers is Ty, 50, who lives in Thu Duc District and frequents a number of gas stations on Tran Nao Street in District 2 and on Hanoi Highway in District 9 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Along with this ‘job,’ Ty is also working as a motorbike taxi driver.
At 5:00 pm on September 1, Ty took his motorbike to the An Binh filling station on Tran Nao Street and parked it in a corner.
He then approached a woman, raising up two fingers and saying, “Give me VND20,000!”
Ty pointed a finger at his motorbike, implying that he ran out of money to fill it with gasoline.
The woman agreed to give him VND10,000.
As soon as the woman left, Ty came over to another woman who offered him VND20,000.
Grasping cash from drivers
Ty later ‘begged for’ cash from a third woman and when seeing her holding a VND20,000 banknote with hesitation, Ty snatched the bill and took it to a gas station attendant to change it into two VND10,000 notes.
To the woman’s surprise, the mugger put one of the notes into his pocket before returning the other to her.
As witnessed by VnExpress reporters, Ty earned VND300,000 with such mugging from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm that day.
Ty is seen getting cash from a woman at the Phuong Mai filling station in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City.
Meanwhile, a group of muggers led by a man named Dat, 30, often linger at many gas stations on Pham Van Dong Street in Thu Duc.
Every day this group can earn millions of dong (VND1 million equals US$44.5) but nobody dares to resist them, as they are very blatant and willing to attack anyone, a gas station attendant said.
“Their face looks like drug addicts’. They are ready to crudely swear at anybody who refuses to give them cash,” the attendant added.
This gang’s members hide weapons in the storage space of their motorbikes and are always willing to use them to intimidate those motorbike drivers who resist their ‘begging.’
Police had tracked this gang and on August 14, when Dat was hiding the money his ring had ‘begged for’ in the storage space of his motorbike, a group of five officers rushed to him, but he managed to escape.
The VnExpress reporters saw other groups of such ‘beggars’ at many other gas stations on Dien Bien Phu and Bach Dang Streets (Binh Thanh District), Ly Chinh Thang and Tran Huy Lieu Streets (District 3), Nguyen Kiem and Phan Dang luu Streets (Phu Nhuan District), and Kinh Duong Vuong Street (District 6).
This sort of mugging also takes place in District 2, District 3, District 9, and District 12.
Police urge victims to report
In general, both filling station attendants and their customers dare not resist such ‘beggars’ for fear of their revenge.
Speaking to VnExpress, Senior Lieutenant Colonel Trinh Van Sam, head of the social crime investigation police team in District 9, said officers have yet to receive any report from the public about such muggers.
“Everybody should not give money to such muggers but they should report their operations to the nearest police station for help,” the official said.