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Legal evidence lacking before gold shop search decision

Update: April, 30/2014 - 22:00

HCM CITY (VNS) – The Ho Chi Minh City police on Tuesday admitted that a previous search conducted by the Binh Thanh District police at a local gold shop was legally inappropriate.

The Binh Thanh District police, at a meeting with the owner of the gold shop Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai on the same day stated that they had committed mistakes by searching Mai's shop and seizing more than US$14,000. They had also sealed off 559 taels of gold that were on display in the shop.

According to Le Anh Tuan, the head of the HCM City Police's Office, the search warrant lacked legal ground.

At the meeting, the police returned all the aforementioned seized assets to Mai and requested her lawyer to sign on a commitment document for not appealing in future regarding the case.

Previously, on April 24, the police in Binh Thanh District stormed into the shop on Bui Huu Nghia Street at 1 p.m., on Thursday, claiming that they had seen a man trying to exchange a US$100 note for Vietnamese dong. The shop is reportedly not authorised to provide currency exchange services.

The police then spent hours thoroughly combing the shop and seized more than US$14,000 in cash and equipment, including a security camera and a CPU, and sealing off 559 taels of gold on display.

Later, the police removed the evidentiary seals after Mai produced the relevant papers proving that she inherited the gold from her parents, but continued to hold on to the seized cash worth US$14,000 until April 29.

What raised public eyebrows is that the search warrant for the shop was signed by the chairwoman of Binh Thanh District People's Committee on April 23, a day before the currency exchange incident actually took place at the shop.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, the owner of the shop remarked that she will close her shop between May 11 and December 31, as she was in a state of panic. – VNS



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