Saturday, October 29 2016


DNA testing displays its power

Update: June, 30/2015 - 09:18

The People's Court of Muong Lat District in Thanh Hoa recently received a request for DNA testing to settle a case. The DNA test, however, was for a cow.

Early in October last year, local authorities found a cow wandering about the district. A notice was printed looking for the owner of the beast and informing him or her of its whereabouts.

Shortly after, two men turned up to collect the cow, Ha Van Muoi and Vi Van Khit, farmers and neighbours in the district. Both claimed to be the rightful owner of the wandering cow.

Muoi claimed the cow was born into his herd in 2011, while Khit said he had already filed a report to local authorities about a cow of his that went missing five months ago.

The case hit a roadblock when both farmers provided a good description of the wandering animal. As the local judge was unable to settle the case, Muoi filed a request for a DNA test to determine the cow's lineage and finally end the his-words-against-mine situation.

He backed down when told the test would cost up to VND10 million (US$460), almost two-thirds of the value of the cow.

An out-of-court settlement was reach by both sides. Muoi agreed to pay Khit VND6 million ($275) for the time he had taken care of the cow if Khit gave up his claim.

It would seem that DNA testing can be quite effective. In fact, in this case, it was so effective it didn't have to be used.

Driver needs to pull his socks up

A bus driver has been suspended from duty for at least 15 days after a video of him putting on his shoes went viral on the internet last week. The video, which lasted for more than a minute, showed the driver letting go of the steering wheel of the bus, which was travelling at high speed down National Route 51 in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Forty passengers were on board.

The driver was shown letting go the steering wheel to put on his socks (both of them!), his shoes and then casually tying the laces. During the whole 60 seconds or so, the driver's hands were on the wheel for no more than perhaps 10. The driver's assistant, who was also in the footage, seemed to be unspooked by the scene.

However, a very concerned passenger recorded the footage and later posted it on an online forum. It caught the eye of the Deputy Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, Khuat Viet Hung, who ordered the bus company to give an explanation.

A company official admitted the incident, saying that the driver needed to relearn basic traffic safety rules. He also said that the passenger who recorded the footage might be given a monetary reward.

Most online commentators said the punishment was far too lenient for someone who had stupidly placed the lives of 40 passengers - and his own - in peril. The incident follows a year in which horrific bus accidents have not been uncommon throughout Viet Nam.

Mr Twist advises passengers to record similar events by drivers and conductors place them on the internet. This will keep them on their toes if no one else will.

House of cards falls down

Le Xuan Hoa, a resident of HCM City, claimed to own a house in the city's District 5. However, the Government said in 1994 that as she had no proper ownership papers she had to hand it back, which she did.

However, in 2013, she requested the city's authority to give it back to her and asked Tran Long An, a male acquaintance, to help her with administrative procedures.

Well, she asked for the wrong person. An, as the legal representative for Hoa, sent the request to the city authority. The request was accompanied by "special documents".

The documents included instructions signed by the President of Viet Nam and the Chairman of the National Assembly. They requested HCM City authority to give the house back to Hoa. The documents were signed and sealed by the leaders mentioned. But, oh dear, the signatures all seemed fake.

The city authority held an investigation which revealed the truth in no time. An, who was either too confident or too naive, was arrested.

He said he searched for forms of documents issued by the offices of the President and the National Assembly and hired someone to type and imitate the documents for him.

Searching his home, police also found many other fake documents with false signatures from Government, State and Party leaders. An was given six years in jail.

An was arrested just as the construction of a pagoda in Nam Dinh was about to begin. An, in a previous scam, faked documents to facilitate the construction of the pagoda in his hometown in Nam Dinh Province.

The People's Committee of the province accepted the documents, which they thought were issued by the Party Commission for Education and Communications. They instructed relevant agencies in the province to go ahead with the pagoda's construction.

If An was not arrested, an illegal pagoda building would have been as a result of his fake instructions. Phew, that would have set the cat amongst the pigeons!

We're not sure what happened to Hoa, the so-called house owner. But presumably she has learned to seek honest advice in future. — VNS

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