Almost 1,500 precious antiques owned by a famous collector have been seized for 11 years due to local agencies’ slow procedures and shifting of responsibilities.
Nguyen Muoi, 58, of Ho Chi Minh City, has filed a lawsuit for some 11 years and some thousand petitions to claim back his 1,457 antiques worth more than VND1.6 billion (US$75,308).
In August 2003, Muoi’s 33 antiques were seized at sea off of Da Nang City.
He then continued to hand in his 27 cardboard boxes containing antiques.
Quang Nam Province Police even prosecuted him for “storing and transporting contraband.”
Later that month, the People's Procuracy suspended the case and applied administrative penalties instead.
According to investigations, Muoi said in his statement that all the antiques seized from his home were purchased and collected to launch a private museum, not to re-sell.
The provincial People's Procuracy suggested that the 33 antiques taken at sea be confiscated, and 1,457 items contained in 27 cardboard boxes in his home be returned to Muoi.
The provincial police disapproved of the procuracy’s decision, and requested that the provincial People’s Committee confirm that the antiques were the country’s assets and be confiscated.
Muoi’s antiques are now casually stored in Quang Nam Museum’s warehouse.
In 2009, the provincial People’s Committee imposed an administrative penalty on Muoi and confiscated his 1,457 antiques.
Muoi was unhappy with this decision and took legal action against the head of the provincial People’s Committee.
Shortly after, the head of the provincial People’s Committee annulled its decision to confiscate Muoi’s antiques.
However, the antiques remained at Quang Nam Museum’s warehouse until now.
According to Ha Phuoc Mai, director of Da Nang Museum, Muoi is a revered antique collector.
Mai also confirmed Muoi’s plan to open a private museum and expressed concerns that the treasured antiques will be seriously damaged after being kept in poor conditions for so many years.
Muoi also told Mai that if he could reclaim his antiques, he would present a portion of them to the museum for public display.