Clerical errors are not too uncommon in any Government administrative system, but last week the People's Committee of Tho Xuan District in Thanh Hoa Province had to withdraw a number of death certificates that were issued to people who are apparently alive.
The four death certificates were issued six years ago while the local branch of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies was running a special programme that allowed poor households to clear their debt in cases where a person or their spouse who took out a loan had passed away.
To take advantage of the bank's offer, the local Committee for Poverty Reduction and the Farmers' Association issued 12 death certificates, which were later used to clear household debts.
Six years later, local authorities found that four of those people are still alive.
Explaining the reason behind the bizarre incident, Nguyen Dinh Tran from the local Farmers' Association said: "The bank said that the requirement to clear debt was that people were dead or went missing. We just wanted to help them clear their debts."
The mistake was officially recorded after the district's judicial officers did not take the time to do a double check before they issued the death certificates.
Chairman of the district's People's Committee, Do Van Quang, said the committee had already cancelled the four wrongly issued certificates, and disciplinary action would be taken against those responsibles. However, six years is quite a long time and we cannot help but wonder why nobody from the local committee ever bumped into one of the ‘dead' people.
Don't push it
Bui Van Thai, 18, and two of his friends snatched a phone from a young woman last week in a park in District 4, HCM City.
As they went through the girl's most frequent contacts, they decided to push their luck by pretending to be the victim and asking to borrow a motorbike from one of her close friends.
After setting up a rendezvous point, the three of them waited for their next victim. But to their surprise, the friend showed up with police after being notified by the initial victim that someone robbed her phone earlier.
Thai and his two accomplices were taken into police custody for alleged robbery. They will have plenty of time to reflect on their actions. First lesson to be learned: when it comes to the law, don't push it.
Fight poverty with skinny cows
Dozens of poor households in Nhon Son Commune, central Ninh Thuan Province were frustrated to learn that they would not receive the VND20 million (US$875) support package to buy their own cows.
The support package, which consisted of VND5 million ($220) aid with the rest being a five-year low-interest loan at 1.2 per cent annually, aimed to help local farmers acquire livestock for breeding.
The local People's Committee purchased a number of cows for the farmers with the money they were supposed to receive. However, many households reported that the health of the cows was poor as most of them were old or showed symptoms of various diseases.
When Mang Thi Xuc, a local farmer, complained that her cow was too skinny and requested another she was given one so old it didn't have any teeth.
Head of the commune's farmer association Le Hong Ha said most of the farmers were unhappy with the cows, saying they were too old and weak. He added that the new cows may carry diseases and infect the rest of the local stock.
Chairman of the district's People Committee Nguyen Long Bien said the committee sent a team to inspect the cows. Local authorities were ordered to come up with a solution to address the farmers' concerns.
As the package was not entirely aid but partly a loan, the local committee must let the farmers, who will be responsible for them, pick their own cows. — VNS