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Freedom can be illusive

Update: November, 04/2014 - 09:57

When Nguyen got into a fight with Lam, he probably never thought he'd end up in jail, twice.

Lam was injured in the brawl and Nguyen was arrested and sentenced to 12 months in jail by the People's Court of Binh Chanh District in Ho Chi Minh City. He accepted the verdict, patiently did his sentence and waited for the day he would be set free, but it wasn't to be.

Six days before his sentence expired, the People's Court announced that it had abolished the verdict because the first court had not followed proceedings exactly.

This meant that Nguyen stayed in jail until the case went to court again. At the new trial, the sentence was increased to 18 months, even though all the evidence was apparently the same.

The poor man had to spend another six month behind bars, because of some one else's mistake.

The cost of a big mouth

Huynh and his 17-year-old son had been drinking together, when discussion turned to argument. When the son threatened to commit suicide, Huynh, without hesitation, went out and got a bottle of herbicide and dared his son to drink it.

A moment later, the father went into his room to sleep. As soon as he was gone, his son drank the whole bottle.

Huynh woke in time to get his son to hospital where his life was saved.

But events did not turn out so well for dad. He is now being prosecuted for "helping another commit suicide". Well, he'll probably think twice before he opens his mouth so widely again.

White elephants multiply

The management board of an Information Technology and Communication Development Project in Da Nang City invested VND600 billion (US$27 million) to renovate public IT systems in Government offices. Yet when new equipment was installed, nothing seemed to work.

When new computers and desk phones were installed they were effective for only a few days, reported Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper. It said staff at several People's Committees said the computers were supposed to be used for people searching for official information.

In some wards, residents were not even that lucky. Screens were provided, but no central processing units (CPUs)!

The chairmen of several People's Committees said they had been given the latest video phones, but had never used them because they were not connected to each other.

Now there is talk of selling a pile of what amounts to a pile of white elephants. — VNS

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