The teenager suspected of killing three people to rob a jewelry shop in Bac Giang last week, who was arrested in Lang Son Province yesterday, has confessed to the murders, police said.
Le Van Luyen was escorted to the Na Hinh Border Guard Station in Lang Son Province Photo: Tien Phong
Le Van Luyen told them he had acted alone in killing Trinh Van Ngoc, the 37-year-old owner of the jewelry shop, his wife Dinh Thi Chin, 35, and daughter Trinh Phuong Thao, 19, on August 24.
He also confessed to chopping off the right arm of nine-year-old Trinh Ngoc Bich, another daughter of the couple.
He said he left a part of the gold and jewelry he had robbed at his home in Thanh Lam Commune, Luc Nam District, gave a small quantity of gold to his cousin Truong Thanh Hong, who had taken him to a local health center for stitching up wounds on his hands, and took the rest to the house of his aunt Le Thi Dinh in Lang Son.
He wrote in his confession: “I ran down and slashed at the head of the owner… I then went down to the second floor and found the owner’s elder daughter holding a cordless phone. I slashed her on the head and arm. I did not know what actually happened to her in the dark.
“I found the elder daughter of the couple unmoved and when I was about to get out, the younger daughter began crying. I told her to keep on sleeping but she began to cry again after a moment of silence. I did not know what to do and used the knife to cut her throat. I found a mobile phone and took it. When I got out of the room, I saw the boss had managed to roll near the staircase. I then stabbed him in the neck…”
Le Van Luyen writing a report on his crime at the Bich Ngoc gold shop in Bac Giang Province (Photo: VnExpress)
He admitted to fleeing to Lang Son on August 25 where he stayed in the house of his aunt Le Thi Dinh in Na Tong Hamlet, Van Lang District.
Fearing detection, Dinh’s husband Le Van Nghi, 31, helped Luyen flee to China on August 28. But since he could not find a place to stay, he returned to Vietnam three days later. At that time he had intended to turn himself in, he claimed.
Officers involved in his arrest at the Na Hinh Border Guard Station yesterday said he showed no signs of fear when they surrounded him. He calmly told them, “Shoot me!”
He was also calm during questioning later, they said.
Earlier, after a source informed them that Luyen was in Dinh’s house, the police went there but did not find him. It was at that time he must have crossed over into China, Lieutenant Nguyen Nang Nha, head of the Na Hinh Border Guard Station, said.
They kept an eye on Nghi who went to China on August 31 to meet Luyen to bring him back to Vietnam. It was how they found the suspect and arrested him.
The police seized jewelry weighing around a tael of gold (1.2 ounce) at Dinh’s house.
Colonel Nguyen Van Du, deputy director of the Bac Giang police, said they would investigate to find out if Luyen had acted alone.
Investigators are questioning Luyen (Photo: Tien Phong)
Bich, the younger daughter of the murdered couple, said two young men with hair dyed red and blue had committed the crimes, but she had been unable to see their faces clearly.
The police have taken in seven people, all Luyen’s relatives -- including his parents -- for either helping him to hide or failing to report to the police.
Deputy Minister of Public Security Lieutenant General Pham Quy Ngo yesterday congratulated the police units involved in Luyen’s arrest.
He also gave cash award of VND50 million ($2,450) to the Na Ninh Border Guard Station and VND5 million each to police forces in Bac Giang and Lang Son Provinces.
No capital punishment for minors
Luyen’s birth certificate shows he was born in October 1993.
If this was accurate, he would get a maximum of 18 years’ imprisonment even if he was found guilty, Tran Duc Thin, a lecturer in criminal law at the Hanoi Law University, said.
Vietnamese laws do not provide for death sentences for minors, he explained.
He cited Article 74 of the Penal Code as saying that persons aged between 16 and 18 would get no more than 18 years for capital crimes and three quarters of the prescribed sentence in case of jail terms.