'Nail' scatterer gets two years in jail

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A court in the southern province of Binh Duong Tuesday sentenced a man to two years in prison for scattering sharp metal pieces on a highway to puncture tires of passing vehicles last year.

According to the verdict, 21-year-old Nguyen Van Cong learned how to repair motorbikes at the home of 27-year-old Dinh Van Sang in Thu Dau Mot Town in July last year.

One month later, the two men were running a motorbike garage together. To earn more money, Cong scattered zinc pieces cut into triangles along Binh Duong Highway every morning from August 4-16 to trap passing motorbikes.

Whenever a motorbike rider brought his broken vehicle to the shop, Cong sold a new tyre at VND45,000-50,000 (US$2.3-2.6), though he paid only VND20,500 for each.

On August 16, Cong was caught red-handed scattering around 150 sharp metal pieces near Dinh Market by the local police.

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The resident of the northern Ninh Binh province said at the court that he scattered the "nails" under the guidance of Sang, who showed him how to cut the triangular-shaped pieces from metal barrel strips.

Asked if he was aware of the danger of his actions, Cong said nothing, but added that Sang told him to go ahead telling him that if he was caught, he would only be fined.

The court prosecuted Sang for operating an illegal business.

Cong became the first person in Binh Duong to be jailed for the flat tire scam. He was charged for "deliberately damaging property".

For several years, locals along Binh Duong Highway and commuters from other localities have complained about the trick deployed by repair shops.

The trick not only helped the shops extract exorbitant charges for repairs, but also caused injuries in some instances as motorbike riders fell on the sharp objects.

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