Southern Binh Duong Province Police have raided three motorbike repair shops, seizing many handmade pointed steel objects meant to be scattered on streets as a scam to charge people exorbitant prices to fix their flat tires.
The police detained 5 people involved in the scam and seized nearly 300 such home-made steel nails.
Yesterday morning, the local police followed up a suspect man who rode a motorbike around many streets after leaving Thuan Phat motorbike repair shop on Binh Duong highway.
When he parked his vehicle at an area in Thoi Hoa commune and took out from under the motorbike seat a cigarette pack, the police stopped him and found more than 200 star-shaped steel pieces hidden in the pack.
The man is Pham Van Canh¸ 32, the owner of the Thuan Phat shop.
Examining Canh’s shop, police seized 65 such metal objects. His wife, Bui Thi Nga, attempted to throw away two metal cutting pliers used to make such steel pieces but the police busted her and confiscated the pincers.
At another shop nearby, also owned by Canh, police seized two more metal cutting pliers and a number of motorbike tires and tubes pierced by steel pieces. The police detained Vu Van Long, 24, who was entrusted by Canh to manage the shop.
Raiding another motorbike repair shop owned by Ha Van Binh, 31, the police detained Binh after catching him attempting to flush the “steel nails” down the toilet.
Local said these shops charged their victims VND50,000-100,000 (US$2.5-5) for a new motorbike tube and VND20,000 ($1) for mending a tube puncture, around 3 times higher than normal.
Since Tet, many motorbike riders have fallen victim to such shops, locals said.
Shortly after the three shops were raided, some other motorbike repairers in the area have closed their shops.
To encourage the public to take part in the eliminate the crime, the Thoi Hoa commune authorities have offered prices for any individual who detect those involved in making and/or scattering “nail traps” on streets, said Vo Thanh Dat, deputy chairman of the commune People’s Committee.