Gold shop owner files complaint against Vietnam metro district

Thanh Nien News

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Curious people watch as police raid the Hoang Mai Gold Shop in Ho Chi Minh City's Binh Thanh District on April 24, 2014
The owner of a gold shop in Ho Chi Minh City has filed a written complaint against the district government for warrant that allowed police to raid her shop and confiscate a huge amount of property on suspicion of illegal currency sales.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, the owner of Hoang Mai Gold Shop in Binh Thanh District, accused the Binh Thanh People’s Committee of issuing a “wrongful” decision on April 23, which allowed local police to raid her shop and search her house the following day.
She said the decision was made based on a request submitted by the Binh Thanh Police without any supporting documents or evidence.
Police stormed into the shop on Bui Huu Nghia Street at 1 p.m. on April 24 claiming they had seen a man trying to exchange a US$100 note for Vietnamese dong.
The police then spent eight hours combing the seven-floor house, where the gold shop is based and seized more than US$14,000 and 2,300 Thai baht as well as a security camera and a CPU.
Before leaving, the officers sealed off 559 taels of gold on display in the shop.
Police later removed the evidentiary seals after Mai produced documents proving she'd inherited the gold from her parents.
Several days later, the police returned Mai's money and equipment  after concluding that it had not widely engaged in illegal currency sales.
A number of lawyers condemned the search and seizure as illegal.
Mai closed her shop on May 11, saying she would suspend operation until the end of this year citing psychological trauma caused by the raid.
Mai told Vietnam News Agency that the incident badly affected the prestige of her gold shop, which has been in operation for 20 years.
In Vietnam, the government sporadically clamps down on the illicit trade in dollars in an effort to support the Vietnamese currency.

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