Nguyen Thanh Phong owns a bistro in Khanh Thuan Commune in Ca Mau Province's U Minh District. His customers are from different backgrounds and include officials from the commune's People's Committee.
However, his pleasure at receiving VIP guests has turned to disappointment. The People's Committee officials have reportedly owed Phong VND48 million (US$2,300) since 2012. Phong is himself under pressure to pay his creditors.
Blinded by rage, he took two one-litre cans of petrol to the headquarters of the People's Committee, threatening to set it on fire, according to the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper. His intention was detected by local police who seized the cans as exhibits. They said they had not finalised the case as they needed more proof and witnesses.
Chairman of Khanh Thuan People's Committee, Nguyen Minh Lam, admitted that the organisation was in debt to Phong, but said it was faced with financial difficulties and could not clear the debt to Phong's bistro and other local businesses.
Lam said he would look carefully at all the invoices to make sure they were for private not official functions, individuals would have to cough up.
Woman falls into own trap
Criminal Police in HCM City's District 2 have given Ly Thi Mai (not her real name) an administrative fine of VND750,000 (US$35) for reporting a robbery that did not happen.
For personal reasons, Mai said she invented a story that she was the victim of a VND1 billion ($46,000) robbery, which was a tissue of lies invented in hopes of reclaiming a VND50 million ($2,400) deposit for a house block.
On March 4, Mai and her son told An Phu Ward police that she had been robbed of VND1 billion while travelling in the area. She said she and her son went to a bank branch to withdraw the money. She said she put it safely in a backpack and travelled home to Binh Thanh District to get some papers needed for the transaction.
The money was said to be earmarked for buying a plot of land. Mai said she had already paid a deposit. Unfortunately, Mai said that when she and her son drove through An Phu Ward, District 2, two men on a motorbike snatched their backpack.
Mai did not report the case promptly to the local police. Instead she went to meet Mr Cong (not his real name), the owner of the land and talked about the robbery.
She said that due to the robbery , she could not buy the land anymore and asked Mr Cong to refund the VND50 million deposit.
Cong refused and, instead, advised her to see police. At the police office, she presented all papers related to the money withdrawal to prove that she did withdraw the money. Nevertheless, when the police went to the scene, no one knew about the robbery.
Showing strong signs of doubt, the police queried her again and again. Consequently, she confessed that she set up the robbery, saying that she changed her mind about buying Cong's land plot, but did not want to lose the deposit.
Mai can thank her lucky stars that she only received a light fine.
Vengeance belongs to readers
Ha Noi based Kim Dong Publishing House is well-known for publications targeting young readers. As usual, one of its latest products, Fairy Tales of Viet Nam, was reportedly well-received.
However, some words in one of the stories, Thach Sanh, has led to gossip far and wide that the book is not suitable for children. Local media reported quite a few complaints from parents who read the book to their kids and found "vulgar, unpleasant or violent" terms they felt would harm young minds.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's Publishing Department called the publishing house to find a solution. In a later document related to the case, the department concluded that the faults were minor and that there was proper punishment available.
The publishers may feel happy about getting away so easily, however a more painful punishment will be the reactions of readers. "The publishing house has lessened its own prestige. In fact, reduced prestige is much more worse than any penalty," said head of the department Chu Van Hoa. — VNS