UH-Clear Lake international students targeted by robbers

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by Shern-min Chow / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 11:07 PM

HOUSTON -- Some University of Houston students are getting caught up in a rash of late night robberies around Clear Lake.

The victims include international students who step outside to make a phone call home and end up getting mugged.

At least three students in the past two weeks have been targeted and UH Clear Lake police fear there are more victims. The campus police sent out an alert to students Tuesday.

The crooks are hitting victims at their apartments just a few blocks from campus. Computer science student Barath Vanama is friends with one woman who was mugged.

“He (the robber) put the gun on her, he took the keys, he took money wallet purse everything and he went away and in the early morning he came and he took the car away also,” Vanama said.

Students often have night classes and stay up late in general, but international students are particularly vulnerable to the robbers who strike between midnight and 4 a.m.

“They want to call their family back there in India or Vietnam, in Asia so 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. here is like 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. back there,” said An Nguyen, who is from Vietnam said.

UH Clear Lake Police Chief Paul Willingham has heard more students have been robbed, but are afraid to come forward because of police in their home countries operate differently.

“Often times they'll leave the apartment, walk around the complexes or sit in one of the parks or common areas and make that phone call home, so they don’t disturb their roommates," said UH Clear Lake Police Chief Paul Willingham.

He said one time an international student tried to give him money as a “tip”.

Authorities said this is part of a larger uptick in robberies in the Clear Lake area and warn people to travel in groups and stay inside at night.

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