Saigon men jailed for snatching phone from foreign tourist

The court said the act had given Vietnam and its people a bad reputation.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced two men to prison last week for snatching a cell phone from a Polish tourist in the city’s backpacker district.

Le Trung Thanh, 30, received four and a half years in jail, while and Pham Phu Bach, 24, was given three years for property theft.

The two men were cruising District 1 on a motorbike looking for targets in July last year when they spotted the Polish man on foot at the corner of Pham Ngu Lao Street and snatched his phone.

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Luckily they were chased down by local people who recovered the phone for the 50-year-old tourist.

The judges said at the trial last Friday that the two men deserved to be strictly punished for their actions, which had damaged the reputation of Vietnam and its people.

Saigon is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Vietnam. The southern megacity welcomed a record 6.3 million foreign visitors last year, up 21 percent from 2016.

Travelers are attracted by the city’s mix of modern comfort and wartime heritage, but street crime, traffic chaos and pollution undermine its charm. – VNExpress

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