“Nail traps” re-appear on HCMC streets

The ‘nail trap’, a scam in which thugs scatter nails or handmade pointed objects on the road to cause flat tires and then charge passers-by exorbitant fees to fix them, has reappeared in Ho Chi Minh City after a long absence.

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Handmade sharp metal objects collected by authortities from streets in HCMC

Many people have recently told Tuoi Tre that they have fallen victim to the trick.

One such victim was Doan Kim Khanh, 20, of Binh Thuan Province, who got a flat tire after it was pierced by a 2cm long metal object.

The incident occurred when Khanh was driving on National Highway 1 near the Dong Nai Bridge at 2:30 pm February 18.

Khanh told Tuoi Tre that the same thing had happened to him three days earlier and a new tube cost VND65,000 (US$3.1).

At 7 pm that day, many people were looking for motorbike repair shops after they had run over a nail trap on the Hanoi Highway in District 9.

One of these people was Nguyen Van Nghia, of Binh Thanh District. He said he nearly crashed after he lost control of his motorbike when one tire deflated after running over a sharp metal object.

A few minutes later a man on a motorbike came over and offered to repair the flat. Nghia accepted the man’s offer since he had no other choice.

After mending the hole in the tube, the man charged Nghia VND35,000, which was much higher than the normal cost that ranges from VND12,000 to VND20,000.

Similar cases have been reported by many other people, including Nguyen Thi Le, who drove from Bien Hoa City to HCMC and ran over a nail trap near the Dong Nai Bridge; and another woman, Thuy, of Long An Province, who suffered the same fate on the Hanoi Highay in Thu Duc District.

Tuoi Tre also recorded cases that occurred on Mai Chi Tho Street in District 2, the National Highway 1 section in front of the Tan Tao Industrial Park in Binh Tan District, and Nguyen Van Linh Street in Binh Chanh District.

Culprits at large

Tran Tan Minh, chairman of the Linh Trung Ward People’s Committee in Thu Duc District, where a number of nail traps have recently been set, said the authorities have requested that the owners of motorbike repair shops sign a pledge that they will not scatter nails traps on streets or overcharge their customers.

Local police often patrol in the ward and have yet to catch any people scattering nails on streets, Minh said.

It is possible that the recent nail traps were set by people who came to Thu Duc from other localities. This means they scatter nails, offer to repair flats, and leave the area after overcharging them, Minh explained.

These people have worked as “mobile motorbike repairers,” Minh added.

Similarly, Nguyen Dinh Hieu, chairman of the district’s Truong Tho Ward People’s Committee, said the authorities have used machines to collect nails scattered on some streets to protect drivers.

However, the authorities have yet to discover who is behind these traps, Tuan said.

Luu Trong Nghia, chairman of the Binh Tho Ward People’s Committee, said local forces often conduct patrols on the Hanoi Highway, but they have yet to find any nails on the roadway.

The authorities have yet to receive any complaints about the nail traps, Nghia said.

Vo Minh Thanh Tung, chairwoman of Thu Thiem Ward in District 2, said authorities have set up a free-of- charge repair station to help victims.

Local police are strengthening their control over motorbike repairers, especially those who have no fixed repair shops, Tung said.

Source Tuoi Tre News