A man who has been accused of putting a fly into an energy drink bottle to demand hush money from the beverage maker is facing a jail term of up to 20 years.
Vo Van Minh, a restaurant owner in Tien Giang Province, was arrested in January in a suspected blackmail attempt against Tan Hiep Phat Company.
Tien Giang prosecutors said Tuesday that they filed charges of “appropriating property,” which is punishable by a jail term of up to 20 years.
According to the indictment, Minh and his sister Vo Thi Thao rented a shop in the province’s Cai Be District to sell noodles and drinks.
On December 3, 2014, he reportedly found a Number One energy drink bottle with a fly inside.
Two days later, he phoned the company and demanded VND1 billion (US$44,800).
He agreed to reduce the amount to VND500 million after meeting the company’s representative several times.
Minh was arrested on January 27, 2015 when he was receiving the money from the company, which reported the case to the police.
According to the indictment, the Ho Chi Minh City Criminal Science Institute has found that that the bottle had been opened and recapped.
Tan Hiep Phat, one of the country's top private beverage producers, has faced several food safety scandals, including customer complaints over its popular herbal tea Dr. Thanh and soy milk products.
In 2009, authorities found nearly 67 tons of expired food flavorings in the company's warehouses in Binh Duong Province and Ho Chi Minh City.