The driver in a viral Internet video showing a taxi deliberately crashing into a bag snatcher escaping on a motorbike has been identified as a 50-year-old man who has done a good deed more than once.
A surveillance camera has captured the whole incident from start to end on Hoang Van Thu Street in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City in a 30-second video that caused a stir on social media earlier this week.
According to the footage seen by Tuoi Tre News, a woman was walking on the sidewalk when a man approached her on a motorbike, snatching her handbag and fled immediately.
A scene from the opposite angle then shows a Mai Linh taxi suddenly swerved onto the right side of the road before crashing directly into the bag snatcher, cornering him to the wall of a house.
The robber luckily cheated death and is seen quickly standing up from the crash and absconded on foot.
The driver is 50-year-old Nguyen Van Hoang, according to Thanh Nien newspaper.
Hoang confirmed to the Ho Chi Minh City-based daily that the incident took place near the Bui Thi Xuan-Hoang Van Thu intersection on April 20.
Hoang was just reached Hoang Van Thu when he saw a man speeding on a motorbike, holding a handbag in his left hand while a woman was chasing behind.
“At that very moment I knew this is a robbery and told myself that I had to stop this by all means,” he told Thanh Nien.
What happened next is clearly shown on the viral footage.
After giving the snatched handbag to the victim, Hoang reported the incident to local police.
The woman was en route to the airport to fly back to her hometown of Da Nang, with an iPhone 7, two passports, two air tickets and other important papers in her bag, according to the taxi driver.
“The woman immediately returned to her hotel in shock following the incident,” Hoang recalled.
“She returned to thank me and gave me VND200,000 [US$9] before boarding her flight to Da Nang.
“Upon arriving home, she also called me again and offered to help me with the repairs cost for my cab, but I told her the company had covered it.”
Hoang had earlier returned to mobile phones left on his cab to passengers, according to Thanh Nien.
While the controlled crash helped stop a robbery, it has sparked online debate whether the taxi driver should do so, as he may have to deal with the law if the bag snatcher was severely injured or even killed in the crash.
Others were concerned that the thief would return to exact revenge on the driver.
Hoang said he knows what to do and is willing to accept all consequences that may follow his action..
“Do not do what you are afraid to do, but once you have already done it, do not be afraid,” he said.
Hoang also said he did not think of any legal problems he might have to deal with when he decided to turn his car toward the robber.
“I was thinking I was doing the right thing so there was nothing to fear,” he said.
The taxi driver asserted that if he is in a similar situation in the future, he will do just the same, “if conditions permit.”
“I would of course not have another controlled crash if there were kids playing on the sidewalk then,” he explained.
The victim, 53-year-old Bui Thi Loc, told Thanh Nien from Da Nang that she really appreciated the bravery of Hoang. “I was so lucky to have his help,” she said.
But what makes Hoang happy the most after the incident is that her little daughter, after watching the video, has called him “my hero.”
“I am so proud that my child feel proud of what I did,” he said
-Tuoi Tre News