The People’s Court in District 10 in HCM City has asked a restaurant owner to pay VNĐ140 million (US$6,100) in compensation to a man who had his motorbike stolen from outside his restaurant.
This in itself was an eye-opener, because it must be the first time in Vietnamese history that a business has been forced to cough up for a motorbike stolen from one of its customers.
The ramifications are national, throwing open the responsibilities of every shop-keeper and restaurant in Việt Nam. Does this now mean that the millions of illegally parked motorbikes on the streets of Việt Nam are now the responsibility of the restaurant, shop or bia hơi their riders are visiting?
Tongues will not stop wagging for months if this is the case... and shops and restaurants will think twice about encouraging customers to park out front.
But let’s get back to the courtroom. On top of being told to repay $6,100 for the stolen bike, the restaurant owner, known simply as N.H.C., was also asked to pay court costs of VNĐ7 billion (US$307,000). Yes, you heard right, more than $300,000 greenbacks - enough to buy a house and three or four motorbikes.
The District 10 People’s Procuracy, which carried out the judgement, protested at the sky-high costs. It said the court fees were obviously a miscounting mistake, insisting the restaurant owner should pay only VNĐ7 million. The court is rethinking its claim.
According to the indictment, on March, 2, 2013, a man named Đ.V. Hoàng drove his motorbike to the restaurant on Đồng Nai Street, but he paid for his meal he found his motorbike was gone. It was not his machine, but owned by his sister and was bought in 2010 for $8,530.
Hoàng asked the restaurant owner for compensation of VNĐ140 million, but the restaurant owner refused.
Hoàng sued the restaurant and last month, District 10 People’s Court agreed with his claim,telling the restaurant owners to not only pay Hoàng VNĐ140 million for the loss of the bike, but another VNĐ7 billion in and court fees in the last five years.
The fun starts now. — VNS