Nearly 70 people in a village in central Vietnam have confessed to beating two suspected dog thieves to death, to protest against the sentencing last month of 10 other villagers for the crime, authorities said on Thursday.
“They all confessed to beating the two men suspected of stealing dogs to death and are ready to take responsibility,” Pham Van Hung, a local police chief in Quang Tri province, told dpa.
During the trial on March 28, six men received jail terms of up to three years and four others were given suspended sentences for beating to death two men who entered the village in August 2012. Residents suspected the pair were behind a recent spate of dog thefts in the area.
“The sentences for our villagers were unfair,” said one local resident who declined to be named. “We want the court to release them, or at least reduce their jail terms.”
The number of confessions was “unprecedented” and the police would have to review the law to come up with a solution, Thanh Nien newspaper quoted Le Quang Cong, chief of Quang Tri Police Department’s Social Crime Division, as saying.
The 68 villagers submitted their confessions so the 10 defendants would not have to be punished for a crime committed by the whole village, the newspaper quoted Nguyen Dang Hai, deputy chief of the village’s Communist Party unit, as saying.
Dog meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam. Restaurants specialising in barbecued dog are popular at the end of each lunar month, when people believe eating the meat will bring them good luck.
Local media have reported several cases of dog thieves attacking villagers who were trying to prevent their pets from being taken and sold to restaurants. Dog meat is sold for 3 to 6 United States dollars per kilogram to restaurants or market stalls.