"Street Knight" identifies robbery

 VietNamNet Bridge - "Knights of the street" are the way people call men who voluntarily hunt robbers on the street. Some of them are members of social or government organizations but some of them do not belong to any organization, but all of them voluntarily do this dangerous task for the peace of society. VietNamNet talks with "knight" Nguyen Van Minh Tien about robbery in HCM City.

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"Knight" Nguyen Van Minh Tien and a robber he caught on the street.

What do you think about robbery in Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the city center and the victims who are foreign tourists?

Robbers in central Ho Chi Minh City who aiming at foreign tourists, are professional criminals.

When they hunt for victims, they are usually disguised, dressed with chic, expensive ride, so the most professional robbery hunters like the criminal forces, "street knights" are very difficult to recognize robbers.

The reason that they target foreign tourists is because they have a lot of money, jewelry, and cameras of high value.

As far as I know, recently in the city center, the criminal forces, volunteers, militias and local police patrol the street 24/7. However, bandits often take action when the police are absent, such as during the lunchtime or at midnight.

How do you identify robbers and what is your advice for people to deal with robbery crime?

Identifying robbery offenses is 50 percent based on my intuition and the remaining 50 percent are awareness of facial expressions, the psychological manifestations of the subject.

In addition to direct prevention of robbery, we also diffuse to people, taxi drivers, traders some personal experience about how to prevent robbery crime.

Everyday, I get about 10 phone calls from people to report of robbery. I can help only one or two cases because of my limited ability.

In my opinion, anyone who goes on the street with valuable assets needs to be at high alert. You should pay attention to people who often follow you, stare at you. They may sit on a motorbike or stand in front of or behind a few feet away and follow you. They can be robbers.

What are difficulties and limitations of "Knights of the street?"

Currently we do not have funding for this task. We spend all money we earn in hunting robbers and support the police.

Each day going out to "hunt" robbery, we usually go in a group of 6 people, in 3 vehicles. The cost for one day is around VND500,000 ($25) for petrol, food and drink. The expenses are not small for one month.

If we have funding, we can work from 8am to 1- 2am of the next day. Previously, my group had about 200 people, now it is less than 20 people. I'm sad and very anxious because I cannot help many people. Sometimes I wondered is it worthy to be called by people as a "Street Knight?”

What do you think when people say that you work harder than the police force and you are very popular with people?

It is not true that the police do not work positively, but they have to do a lot of work. People like "knight streets" to only hunt robbers and then give them to the police for further investigation.

We are glad that the police force is always supporting "street knights." The two sides have strong links and support. Whenever the police call me, I will be present immediately. When I hunt robbers, if I face bold robbers, I will call the police for help.

What do you think when the operation of “street knights” is beyond the government regulations? There have been cases that street knights have gone to jail after robbers died.

The "Street Knights" Club in Binh Duong province was established by the local government. Our team in Ho Chi Minh City was set up spontaneously but the Ministry of Public Security approved the establishment of the street knights club.

All people have the right to participate in the suppression of crime. When doing our task, we often catch the subjects in the act of robbery. Nobody can ban us from doing things under the policy of the Government and the State.

People occasionally catch a robbery case but we hunt robbers frequently and even are professional robbery hunters. We established the street knights group to urge the people to participate in this movement in order to repel crime.

Street knights do not cause the death of robbers. Robbers were hunted by people and street knights so they ran away at high speed and caused self-motorbike accidents. We do not shove them.

Only in cases that we catch robbers and beat them to dead we shall be subject to imprisonment.

In order to prevent robbery in Ho Chi Minh City, what anti-robber model should the government build?

It is difficult to say about models to crack down on robbery offenses because the government has the task force squad and the ward, district and city level criminal crime prevention teams.

Personally, I also proposed the Ho Chi Minh City police director to establish a "street knight club” which operates in all 24 districts to support the criminal prevention force to legally hunt robbers. If it is approved, we can work 24/7.

"Street Knight" Nguyen Thanh Hai, leader of the Anti- Crime Club of Phu Hoa Ward, Thu Dau Mot Town, Binh Duong province, shares experiences in robbery prevention, with VietNamNet.

Members of the Anti- Crime Club of Phu Hoa Ward.

Our crime prevention club was established in 1997 and to date we have discovered more than 1,000 cases of criminal, mostly robbery.

Our experience is very simple: just going to the street to observe suspicious objects and track them for about 500m to know they are robbers or not.
In my personal opinion, the authorities at all levels in HCM City should establish street knight clubs in each area.  The club members are young people who live in that area, because they know the area clearly.

These clubs will work closely with each other, call each other when robbery occurs, together key block at the crossroads and the places where the criminal can run through.

Once we catch a few cases, criminal groups in HCM City will be definitely shaken and re-think their intention of robbery.

Dam De - Nguyen Oanh