Vietnamese men jailed for stealing pet dog from foreigner
Banh Van Thang, 37, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for “stealing property” while his accomplice, Tran Duc Lap, 29, received a three-year jail term on similar charges.
According to the indictment, Thang asked Lap to join him in stealing dogs last March.
As the duo drove a motorbike around Tay Ho District, where many foreigners reside, they spotted a foreign woman, whose nationality has not been revealed, going for a walk with her pet dog.
They snatched the dog and drove away. The pet dog, which costs VND20 million ($859), was sold to a pet dog business owner for over VND4 million ($172).
Nguyen Dac Luyen, 22, who bought the stolen dog, got a one-year suspended sentence for “harboring or consuming property acquired through the commission of crime by other persons.”
Dog theft is rarely treated as a criminal offense in Vietnam. Stolen animals have to be valued at more than VND2 million ($86) for stricter action to be taken.
Over the last two decades, however, there has been a public outcry against dog stealing and suspected thieves have been lynched by angry mobs.
While some stolen dogs are resold as pets, many would end up in restaurants. Vietnam consumes an estimated five million dogs a year, second only to China’s 20 million.
Recently, the Hanoi People’s Committee called on residents to stop eating cat and dog meat, saying this reflected badly on the capital city in foreigners’ eyes. The proposal has received mixed reactions from the public.