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Men caught with radioactive device

Update: September, 23/2014 - 09:34
 Dang Xuan Luu and Ngo Quoc Vuong

HCM CITY (VNS) — Police in HCM City's Tan Binh District have arrested two men for stealing a device that contains radioactive Iridium-192 from a company in Tan Binh District.

Ngo Quoc Vuong, 23, of Binh Tan District, and Dang Xuan Luu, 25, of central Quang Ngai Province, were arrested on Sunday and Saturday, respectively, after a six-day search conducted by the HCM City Police, with support from the Department of Science and Technology.

The police found the device valued at VND370 million (US$17,464) in a house on Vuon Lai Street in Phu Tho Hoa Ward in Tan Phu District last Thursday.

The surrounding environment where the device was found was measured for radioactivity by an authorised government agency. But nothing was detected, according to police.

The two men allegedly told police that at midnight on September 12, they discovered a house with an open door as they were riding around on their motorbike. One man stayed outside the house to keep watch while the other one entered. There were no people inside the house.

The man could not find anything valuable, except for the device, which he believed was a water pump.

The radioactive Iridium-192

They then took the device to their rented house in Tan Phu District.

Someone offered to buy it for only VND200,000 ($9) but they refused, as they thought the price was too low, they told police.

On September 15, Apave Asia – Pacific Company, based in HCM City's Tan Binh District, told police that the device containing sealed radioactive Iridium-192 was missing.

The Iridium-192 material is used in non-destructive inspection equipment (NDT).

The radioactive material could endanger the environment and people's health, if released from the device, police said.

Due to the dangerous nature of the incident, the Department of Science and Technology together with the HCM City Police have been working on an announcement about the incident that will be issued to the public. — VNS

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