What did expats say about beer looting in Biên Hòa?

On December 4, hundreds of people in Biên Hòa town in Đồng Nai province happily looted some 1,500 beer cans of Tiger spilled on the street from a truck near Tam Hiệp roundabout, ignoring the driver’s protests.

The looters nearly fought each other to steal undamaged beer cartons.

Some hastily put the scattered cans into plastic bags.

Some even deployed cargo motorbikes to carry the beer away.

No one bothered to help the desperate driver.

Some even threatened to beat him when he tried to prevent them from stealing his beer.

Thousands of beer cans were cleared out of the street within just 15 minutes.

The ugly image was recorded by a reader named Phương Thanh, who later sent the footage to Tuổi Trẻ News:


Footage provided by reader Phương Thanh shows people looting beer cans

Several expats in Hồ Chí Minh City voice their opinions on the recent beer looting in Biên Hòa town in the southern Đồng Nai province in which hundreds of people happily rushed to loot the beer cans that fell out of a truck despite desperate cries of the poor driver.

The opinions and views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Tuổi Trẻ News:


A woman smiles after looting three cartons of beers with many looters in the background at Tam Hiệp roundabout in Biên Hòa November 4, 2013

They thought they robbed from a rich company

Basically these poor people stole beer cans to sell.

I don’t support their actions and of course they should have given all the beers back to the driver.

But that is not human nature.

Watch the video, there was no way anyone got in trouble.

It was free beer just sitting on the street.

These people just wanted some freebies.

People of course are taught not to steal from others and my mom would always tell me to bring to the police.

But it [the incident in Biên Hòa] was free booze and nobody was stopping them.

The mind of the people was not like they were stealing from this particular man [the driver], they were just robbing a multi-million-dollar company.

But their actions are not looting.

Looting means breaking windows and stealing things from homes and people’s stores.

Look at the London riots [two years ago], they were rioting in protest.

Now the eventual outcome was looting because that is in human nature once something overspills as such people take whatever they can.

Jake Houseago (British) – working at Asia Life Magazine

Consider hardships of others as own personal gain

Of course they should be condemned; stealing from an unfortunate guy who has not only been in an accident, but who is transporting cargo which is likely worth more than he makes in a month.

He will suffer the repercussions concerning his performance and ability to do his job, while the looters have walked away scot-free with hundreds of dollars in beer.

Unfortunately I think this would happen nearly anywhere in the world as people constantly consider their own personal gain over the hardships and safety of others.

Not stealing from others is a concept taught in early childhood in my country.

Nevertheless, in a situation where there are seemingly no repercussions or consequences, I think it is human behavior to push the limit to see how far you can take it.

I’ve never seen something like this happen elsewhere, but I’m certain if a truck of televisions or Apple products ended up on its side that civilians would not think twice about the illegality of the situation or the safety of the driver, but only about themselves.

Lauren Andrew (American) – English tutor in Hồ Chí Minh City

Follow what others do

This is just sad like adding insult to injury.

It makes me think that actions of people are contagious.

I’m sure that people know that what they are doing is wrong.

Maybe seeing other people do it makes them think that it’s okay.

Maybe if some just tried to help, maybe everyone would follow.

Maybe it is out of desperation that they feel the need to look beyond the crying driver and just focus on the beer.

I think this would happen in any poor country so I am not all that surprised on what happened.

But it’s hard to judge the actions of people.

I don’t think it’s fair to think that just because some people looted that beer truck automatically means every Vietnamese is like that.

Just like in Philippines, there have been recent news about people looting trucks of relief goods in Tacloban and I don’t think that single incident fairly represents Filipinos as a whole.

It’s just a matter of survival and they feel like they have no other choice.

If I were from Tacloban and I hadn’t seen my family eating for days, probably I would have forgotten about others and just prioritize my needs also.

Addie Pamplona (Filippino) – a graduate from Hồ Chí Minh City-based RMIT University

A common problem in developing world

At least there wasn’t anyone else injured in the accident.

Don’t worry about the beers because beer companies make a lot of money and the loss is not really as BIG as they mention.

I wouldn’t go so far as much to condemn their actions, but I don’t condone it.

It’s a very common problem in the developing world.

I’m pretty sure most of them will be stocking them for upcoming Tết.

In every country, I’m sure everyone is taught not to steal from others.

One thing I would say now that I’ve been here 9 years and that is I think bag snatches are the worst.

Thomas Kool (South Korean) – a technician for an ear-phone store in Hồ Chí Minh  City

Source: Tuổi Trẻ News

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