Six members of a dog thieving gang are detained at a police station in Nghe An province, July 2022. Photo courtesy of Nghe An Police
Police in north-central Nghe An province have arrested six members of a dog-stealing gang on allegations of stealing around 100 dogs every night.
Vuong Van Hong, 36, identified as the gang leader, and his five accomplices are being investigated for theft of property, police said on Saturday.
Many families in Nghe An and neighboring Ha Tinh recently complained to local authorities that their dogs were stolen overnight, urging police to track down the culprits.
On Wednesday morning, officers raided Hong’s home, and found they were holding 63 dogs and 15 cats that they had stolen.
Police also seized a van used to transport stolen dogs, stun guns and other tools.
Investigators said Hong was the “boss” of the dog-stealing gang, operating from Nghe An to Ha Tinh.
Four members usually chased the pet dogs with stun guns, with their remaining accomplices following behind with the van for collection.
On average, the gang stole around 100 dogs each night and sold them to Hong for 50,000 VND ($2.14) per kilo. Hong then sold them to other traders inside and outside the province for a profit.
The truck used by the Vuong Van Hong gang in Nghe An province to recover stolen dogs. Photo courtesy of Nghe An Police
According to local police, the gang was very reckless, throwing bottles or using crossbows to protect themselves.
Police are expanding their investigation to clarify the total number of dogs stolen by the gang.
Dog theft is rarely treated as a criminal offense in Vietnam, unless the stolen animals are valued at more than 2 million VND ($86).
Vietnam consumes about five million dogs a year, second only to China’s 20 million.
Many of the dogs that come onto the grill are stolen animals sold to small, unregulated slaughterhouses and brutally killed.