Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another day, another mugging

Every now and then, I write about the Blue Dragon children being attacked or robbed in all kinds of circumstances. This is fairly common, which doesn't make it any less outrageous, and it drives me crazy every time.

On Saturday, one of our teenage boys - let's call him Nam - was riding his bicycle along a main rode in the middle of the day when two motorbikes veered across his path. Nam had spent the morning working at an international school, as a 'runner' for the morning soccer matches, and was on his way to the other side of Hanoi where he has an apprenticeship in a mobile phone repair shop. This is one kid who works hard and doesn't spend his weekends playing games!

The two motorbikes, each carrying three young adults, were cruising the streets looking for someone to rob. When they saw Nam, they hoped to steal at least his bicycle, but were hoping he might also have a phone or some money they could take. (Hey, who needs a job when you can just go around robbing people, right?)

The men on one bike beat Nam up and fled with his bicycle. The guys on the second motorbike realised that they'd been tricked by their own gang - they got nothing! So they then tried to convince Nam that they would take him to find his bicycle... if only he'd get on their motorbike and go with them...

When they worked out that Nam wasn't so stupid, they beat him around some more and left.

All this on a major road in broad daylight.

When Nam was able to ring for help, I called for one of our social workers, Hai, to come to his aid. Hai happens to live nearby and he was happy to go see what he could do. Hai and Nam went and filed a report at the police station; and while the police were very helpful and sympathetic, finding these guys will be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Nam really loved his bicycle, and added to its loss is the humiliation of a public beating and the senselessness of being mugged while on his way from one job to another on a sunny Spring Saturday morning.

He really didn't deserve this... but I think that's a line I have written in dozens of my blogs over the last couple of years. If it wasn't for the fact that Nam is such a good person, like so many of the Blue Dragon kids, I think that this latest incident would really get me down.