Trading gold, silver, gemstones and other valuable jewellery must be listed as a special business and enterprises and individuals involved must meet strict security regulations before commencing operations, the police have said.

The statement was made following two violent murders that recently occurred at gold shops in northern Bac Giang Province and Hanoi City , killing or injuring five people. Another gold shop robbery occurred on Feb. 20 in Hanoi 's Dong Da District, but no casualties were reported.

Ministry of Public Security's Social Crime Investigation Police deputy head Ho Sy Tien told Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper there have been eight recent serious gold robberies nation-wide, two of which are murders that shock the public.

Poor security systems at the gold shops in question have been revealed, including a lack of professional security guards, security cameras and alarm systems, he said.

Tien said trading gold and valuable jewellery has an impact on the lives and assets of the owners, and the police are likely to change the criteria of establishing such businesses.

This means owners will not be allowed to operate unless they met security criteria, including installing cameras and force-resistant showcases, hiring professional security guards and in addition to other requirements.

Lawyer and director of Bravolaw Consultant company Nguyen Hong Tham said the current regulations for establishing gold businesses are simple and do not mention security requirements.

"Our company has consulted many individuals intending to open gold shops. The Government's amended decree 64/2003 only stipulates they register as other kinds of businesses, and have goldsmith facilities. It says nothing about security criteria," she said.

After serious cases of robbery, many gold shops in inner cities stepped up their security measures.

Tran Nhan Tong Street, which houses a number of large gold shops including Bao Tin Minh Chau Jewelry Company, Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company, Phu Quy Diamond and Gold Company, security guards armed with sticks have seen standing at shop entrances and escorting customers in and out.

A number of security guards also keep watch inside, observing customers and making sure no unexpected incidents occur. All showcases are made from force-resistant glass and cameras are equipped at the corners of the shops.

Shops in suburban areas of Hoai Duc, Tu Liem, Dan Phuong Districts were reported to have ignored these security issues and most haven't hired guards, saying they do not trust security staff and have no money to pay for such services.

The police have urged local authorities to take measures to avoid gold shop robberies after the recent violent robberies.-VNA