Combating street robbery: “Street knight” model still a concern
VietNamNet Bridge - All people involved in crime prevention is the thing that must be encouraged. But it is a matter when people consider robbery hunting as a job and they play the role of police.

Robbery on the streets of Saigon

“Street knight” Nguyen Van Minh Tien of HCM City.

The problem of “street knight” model?

"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.

However, after 10 "knights" of the crime prevention club of Phu Hoa ward, Thu Dau Mot town, Binh Duong province were summoned by the Police Agency of District 12, Ho Chi Minh City, in early October, for suspicion of being related to a robbery, the skepticism about the weakness of the "street knight" model has appeared.

It is said that this model has been replicated throughout provinces, but it is not strictly controlled by local governments.

The “SBC Binh Duong" club (robber hunting club of Binh Duong province) with captain Nguyen Thanh Hai, is known as the first "street knight" club in the country.

Most of the members of this club are well-off and they consider hunting robbers as a passion. The club has significantly contributed to the reduction of crime in Binh Duong province.

Based on the model of this club, many crime prevention clubs have been established in Binh Duong and other provinces. These clubs are under the management of the local commune and ward authorities.

Regards to the case of "street knight" Nguyen Tang Tien, a member of the crime prevention club of An Binh ward, Di An Ward, Binh Duong province, who was attacked by a gangster gang, Colonel Nguyen Hoang Thao - Deputy Director of Binh Duong Police Agency, admitted that the "street knight" model has problems.

Thao said, in many cases, "knights" did not properly pursue the laws, but in the current situation, it is temporarily accepted and the local authorities would take measures to help "knights" understand the law and the limits of their job.

How is the authority of "street knights?"

Reporters of a provincial TV station said that whenever local “street knights" arrested robbers, they asked the local TV station to film and report before handing over the criminals to the police. Some "knights" have equipped themselves with cameras to take photos or film of their feat of arms to provide to reporters.

Just like that the media has taken up “street knights” as the social idols in the suppression of crime, which should belong to the police force.

The authorities of "knights" is still a controversy when the media sometimes reported that “street knights” raided an illegal gas producing enterprise or a prostitution network.

Lawyers said that if "knights" handle such illegal acts, they are considered to violate the law, because that is the job of the police.

"If knights are called in to support the police force, it is acceptable," a lawyer said.

In late August 2012, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court sentenced a group of three "knights" of 18-30 months in prison on charges of "consumption of assets obtained by criminal acts." In this case, three “street knights” arrested two robbers. But on the way to the police headquarters, two robbers suggested sharing half of VND120 million that they had robbed to the three "knights" to be released. The affair was discovered and the “knights” were sentenced.

Once the media reported that "knights" took a bribe. It is ridiculous because “knights” are not government officials or public servants to be called “taking a bribe.”

The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court recently trialed a "knight" for chasing a robber, who died on the way.

“Knight” Nguyen Tang Tien’s younger brother was sentenced to four years in prison for robbery. This man used to be a "street knight."

It is time the authorities should have strict regulations for the operation of "street knights," to avoid the "unfortunate incidents."

The case related to 10 "street knights" of the SBC Binh Duong club

On the afternoon of August 17, captain Nguyen Thanh Hai of the SBC Binh Duong club received a phone call from a man named Dinh Dac Loc, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City, to ask for help. Loc said, more than a year ago he lent his car to a man named Toan but this man did not return the car. Loc denounced the case to the police but it was not solved yet.

In early October, Loc received a call of a stranger named Hiep asking him to redeem the car at VND240 million, otherwise Hiep would sell it to Cambodia. The meeting place was fixed in Binh Duong Province. Therefore, Loc asked the assistance of the SBC Binh Duong Club.

After listening to Loc’s explanation and checking the car registration documents, Hai mobilized 10 members in his club to help Loc.

On the night of August 17, the ten “knights” followed Loc to the meeting place where Loc gave money to Toan. “Knights” then pursued the two people (a man named Nguyen Van Hiep, from HCM City and his wife) who took Loc’s money.

After receiving Loc’s phone call, in which he said that his car was replaced with some faked spare parts, the “knights” arrested Hiep and his wife and took them to the office of HCM City’s District 12 police.

After that Hiep accused the “knights” of identifying themselves as policemen to take VND240 million from him.

The police of District 12, Ho Chi Minh City recently convened these “knights” for investigation.

Dam De