There is an irony in the historiography of Vietnam. While scholars have produced study upon study about anticolonialism, nationalism, revolution, and civil war, they have neglected a key category of actors who helped mobilize, organize, and deploy violence in the name of nationalist struggle—violent entrepreneurs. These “figures of criminality”––gangsters, bandits, and other wielders of unsanctioned violence––would find themselves mingling with revolutionaries inside colonial prisons and out. Some even went on to align with one putatively anticolonial group or another. These convergences between the political and the criminal would carry over into the post-World War II period. Who was a criminal, and what constituted a criminal act? These became increasingly contentious and political questions in postcolonial Vietnam. Drawing on police bulletins, period newspapers, intelligence reports, bureaucratic discourses, and memoirs, this paper historicizes this political-criminal nexus, which blurred the notion of criminality in the postcolony. By bringing into focus the ostensibly criminal as a constitutive part of the Vietnamese revolution, this paper aims to illuminate the complex social underpinning of war and political turmoil.