Saturday, September 25 2021


A twist in the tale

Update: October, 10/2017 - 09:00
All Mai Xuân Hải needed was a screwdriver to break into more than a dozen apartments in Hà Nội’s Nam Từ Liêm District. — Photo

Screwed with a screwdriver

Whether it is Mission Impossible or The Italian Job, the gadgetry deployed by brilliant thieves in Hollywood blockbusters has had us in thrall. The story of Mai Xuân Hải is no blockbuster, but he was good bloke at busting into apartments and robbing them.

His gadgetry was even more impressive than all the Hollywood stuff. All he needed was a screwdriver to break into more than a dozen apartments in Hà Nội’s Nam Từ Liêm District.

Hải was familiar with the apartments’ layout because his job required him to install clothes hangers in them. This led to a surprising discovery. Despite sturdy doors and digital locks, the apartments’ windows could easily be unscrewed from the outside.

Armed with his trusted screwdriver, Hải broke into 14 apartments in the area and stole cash and goods worth about VND2 billion (US$90,000). Since he put the windows back where they belonged, there was no sign of breaking in, leaving the police scratching their heads.

The head scratching turned to hair pulling when one victim reported that his safe, which had been stolen earlier, was returned, stripped off its money and valuables, but with all important documents intact. There was still no sign of a break in, but the cops soon got their break via security camera footage, and Hải was in their custody.

“I only took their money and valuables. The papers were of no use to me, but were very important to them. That’s why I gave it back,” Hải told the police.

The considerate thief will have ample to time to consider his actions in a new light, one that will hopefully open a new window into his soul.

Egg on their faces

Three men were recently forced to pay a very high price for exotic food in the southern island district of Côn Đảo – VND50 million ($2,200) for a few eggs.

The men were sentenced to a total of 21 months of non-custodial reform and ordered to pay a VNĐ50 million fine after they were caught selling and buying turtle eggs.

While the turtles have been listed as an “endangered species” by the country for some time, it is the first time that such severe punishment has been handed down by the nation’s courts. Hopefully, this will offer some serious food for thought for those craving dishes that are not on normal menus.

Something you cannot paper over

An old couple in HCM City’s District 6 couldn’t believe it when they were asked to move out their own house by someone claiming to be the new owner.

Their protestations that they had not sold the house to anyone fell on deaf ears. I have the papers, the new owner said. Indeed he did.

The couple’s daughter, the man’s daughter from a previous marriage, to be precise, had forged a letter showing her father had given her the power of attorney to sell the property for him. She’d submitted many legal documents including notarised copies of the sales contract to the local government to legalise the sale.

Police investigations concluded that the old man’s letters and signatures were all forged, but it took a two-year legal battle and a lot of heartache for the old couple to reclaim their property.

The fraudulent sale could never have gone ahead if the notary office had done their work with due diligence. They are not supposed to be rubber stamps; quite the opposite, but in this case, their stamp trampled on the legitimate rights of some senior citizens. Their excuse: the daughter had all the required papers!

The old couple have said that they do not wish to press criminal charges against their daughter. That the law will be as lenient and forgiving about forgery is unlikely. And despite all the papers that she forged, her dream will remain on paper, and nightmares about what she tried to do her parents cannot be ruled out. --VNS



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