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Hanoi man criminally charged for breaking $120 wine jar

Monday, January 04, 2016, 15:02 GMT+7

A Vietnamese man has been charged with “destroying assets” for breaking a big jar of wine at a restaurant in Hanoi, even though he and the eatery owner had agreed upon a way for compensation.

An official from police in Bac Tu Liem District confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday that Hung had been indicted.

Police officers had received a complaint from the restaurant owner, and officers also found out that besides breaking the jar, Hung also hurt somebody at the eatery, he said.

They decided to file the charge since the jar was worth more than VND2 million ($89), he added.

Hung also has a criminal record, according to Bac Tu Liem police.

On December 24, the family of Nguyen Do Hung, residing in Bac Tu Liem, lodged a petition to the district’s procuracy to protest the charge, but prosecutors forwarded the complaint to the local police unit, according to documents seen by Tuoi Tre News.

In November 2015, Hung, 36, accidentally broke a 100-liter jar containing wine at an eatery owned by Nguyen Thi Hien, and later recompensed her with a new one.

Hien agreed to receive the new jar, which Hung had bought at VND1.8 million (US$80), and the customer believed that the incident was settled.

However, on December 3, Hung received an announcement from the Bac Tu Liem police, saying he was indicted for “destroying assets,” as the jar was valued at VND2.7 million ($121) by police officers.

As per the current Vietnamese law, an individual will face criminal charges if he causes property damage worth VND2 million and above, otherwise only a civil penalty will be imposed.

Nguyen Van Dung, who is Hung’s father, said the family had heard nothing about the case until the announcement was sent all of a sudden.

“I believe that there are signs of justice miscarriage in the way Bac Tu Liem police officers handled this case, where objectivity was not ensured,” he said in the petition submitted to prosecutors.

Upon receiving the petition, the Bac Tu Liem Procuracy said valuing the broken jar was the authority of the district’s police, so it had forwarded the complaint to the police.

As the crucial factor to file a criminal charge is the value of the broken jar, Dung said the evaluation of the police was “non-objective and groundless.”

Dung said he had bought the new jar to recompense the restaurant owner, and it is impossible for the container to cost as much as VND2.7 million.

The jar fetches from VND1.2 million ($54) at retail stores, and at the ceramic village of Bat Trang in Gia Lam District, the price is much cheaper, according to the petition.

“So I would like to know on which grounds Bac Tu Liem police have valued the jar my son had broken, especially when Hien had agreed to take the new jar as compensation,” Dung said in the document.

Authorities in Bac Tu Liem are still clarifying the case.

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