Actor Nguyen Chanh Tin at his home in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Do Tuan
An actor-producer who shot to fame in a 1980s spy movie is receiving help from the public and colleagues to keep his house, which he had mortgaged to produce a movie that failed to break even despite being a hit.
Nguyen Chanh Tin, 62, said he suffers from ill-health but runs the risk of becoming homeless at any moment because he is unable to repay VND10.5 billion (US$500,000) to the Southern Bank.
Lao Dong newspaper said the bank had lent money for making "Dong mau anh hung" (The Rebel), a blockbuster at home that failed to earn as much as expected abroad due to piracy.
Tin has been a star for long, especially for playing a super spy in the black-and-white franchise “Van bai lat ngua” (A card game overturned), which saw eight films released between 1982 and 1987.
They were based on the deeds of actual Vietnamese spies during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.
He was conferred the title of Excellent Artist, one the country's highest honors for artists.
In July 2008 he had mortgaged his house as collateral for a three-year loan of VND8.3 billion for his son’s media company, Chanh Phuong, of which he is also an executive.
Tin said since his plight was reported by the media last week, he has since received VND100 million from more than 100 people.
Some sent the money to his bank account, but many also brought it to his house.
“I really appreciate it; thank you everyone,” he said in an interview with Thanh Nien.
He said some colleagues are also planning to organize musical programs to raise money for him.
Hanoi-based comedian and director Chi Trung has taken the lead in raising money by putting in his Facebook status: “Tin has made a big mistake, that of loving art too much.”
Trung told Thanh Nien he sent VND1 million to Tin’s account and many friends have also followed suit.
“I know VND1 million is not much, but if tens of thousands of people do the same, Tin will surely overcome his problem.”
But not everyone is supporting the call.
Some online commenters have objected to the donations saying losses are a normal part of doing business.
Tin’s family has several successful public figures like his US-based nephews Charlie Nguyen, a director, and Johnny Tri Nguyen, an actor.
Emcee Anh Khoa reportedly said on his Facebook page that each person needs to be responsible for their actions.
“[There are] many other people who need help. So why do we create a privilege for artists so they can moan about their difficulties in the media and beg for help?”
Nguyen Van Hoa, head of the District 10 Civil Law Enforcement Department, which is in charge of Tin’s neighborhood, said he received a request from the bank to seize Tin's house last July.
But he has not pressured the actor because he is a public figure, Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted him as saying.
The bank offered Tin VND500 million to rent a place for a year, but he turned it down, asking instead for more time.
The Supreme People’s Court, which has the power to delay law enforcement, last December ordered Hoa’s unit to give the case a 90-day delay, which expired Tuesday.
“We’ve been very careful and have no plans now about forcing the family [to give up the house],” Hoa said.
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