Each resident of Đông Cốc Village in the northern province of Bắc Ninh received VNĐ10 million (US$440) after the 200-year-old sưa tree at the communal village house was sold for VNĐ24.5 billion (near $1.1 million) in an auction last August.
Native women who got married and moved away, or those who moved to live in the Thuận Thành District village, received VNĐ5 million ($220).
This was a happy end to a somewhat turbulent saga.
The tree, which was chopped down last Saturday, was one of two sưa trees (Dalbergia Tonkinensis Prain) at the communal house. It was offered for sale after being diagnosed “rotten to dead”.
But months later rumors spread that someone was willing to pay VNĐ50 billion for the valuable lumber, while the local authorities said the tree had been sold for only VNĐ24 billion. Angry villagers even mounted a protest.
It turned out that the buyer thought he was buying a very valuable tree and was willing to shell out a large sum of money. It then transpired that the man, a wood furniture maker from Đồng Kỵ Village in Bắc Ninh Province, realised the rot had spread over a wide area and he would get far less timber than he expected.
He nonetheless paid VNĐ24 billion and sweetened the pot with an additional VNĐ1.5 billion to help the village improve public works and local production facilities. — VNS