Cafe owner highlights continued vendetta by officials
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | August 24, 2016 11:34 AM
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Nguyen Van Tan, owner of the Xin Chao Cafe in Ho Chi Minh City, said he feared a continued vendetta by the local police after several officers were fired for filing wrongful criminal charges against him.


Nguyen Van Tan, owner of the Xin Chao Cafe, said he feared a continued vendetta

On August 8, 2015, Tan opened a cafe in Binh Chanh District opposite of the district police building. His business licence was scheduled to be granted on August 19 and a food safety certificate on September 29. However, on August 18, he was fined over VND17m (USD772) for not having the licences. Then on March 11, Tan faced a criminal charge for illegally conducting business.

After the case was exposed and brought to HCM City Party Secretary Dinh La Thang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the officers were punished. Nguyen Van Quy, head of the district police, Le Thanh Tong, former deputy head of the district people's procuracy and Huynh Van Son, an official at the people's procuracy were fired.

While that should have resolved the problem, his tangles with officialdom have continued.

In order to find a place to wash the dishes, Tan bought an old container, cut it into four parts and renovated it for the cafe. He even asked for permit from the local authorities and promised to remove it immediately if needed. However, the local authorities asked him to remove the containers, Tan removed three parts and asked to keep the last part next to his cafe to wash the dishes.

On August 16, Chairman of Tan Tuc Town Nguyen Thanh Vu demanded him to stop using the container and went as far as cutting electricity and water at the cafe. According to Vu, any construction is banned from the land and they also blocked vehicles carrying construction materials from entering. Tan was told that he must remove everything within three days.

Several lawyers have voiced their oppositions, saying that the violation was unfounded as Tan's container is not a construction 'tied to the land' like a building. The chairman is also wrong for ordering utilities companies to cut electricity and water at the cafe because this is a civil contract.

"I didn't dare to build a permanent building because I was afraid this sort of thing would happen. I borrowed money to buy a really small container for VND15m (USD681) just so I could have a place to store dishes, pots and pans. Now they are forcing me to remove it and I heard that I might be fined some twenty million of VND. I probably have to sell this cafe and leave. I just don't understand, this small container fits on the land that I rented. I'm really scared," Tan said.

District Party Secretary Nguyen Van Phung said, "The town chairman said it was standard. I told him whatever standard it is, it must be reasonable. And demanding companies to cut electricity and water is not the chairman's job. Don't get involved in such petty things, it's not worth it."

There's a folk story about a family living with dangerous tigers in the forest. They said they'd rather live with the dangerous tigers than under the control of cruel rulers.

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