A court in Ho Chi Minh City ordered a gold trader to pay over VND5 billion (US$256,802) in compensation for failing to properly ship five kilograms of gold following a transaction made in 2005.
According to a complaint filed with the People's Court of District 5, on February 14, 2005 Nham Tuan Hung from the Vinh Hung Company in the southern province of Soc Trang approached the Jewelry and Gemstone Store No. 1 (now SJC Cho Lon Jewelry and Gemstone Company) to buy gold.
Because of a temporary spike in the price, Hung asked salesclerk Pham Thanh Ngan to keep over VND1.9 billion ($97,586) for him with receipts.
Two days later, when the price went down, Hung called Ngan, ordering 133.3 taels, or five kilograms, of gold at VND8.01 million ($410.87) per tael.
The two parties agreed that the gold and VND841 million ($43,194) in change would be shipped to Hung, via bus, by the Ky Huong Transportation Company, according to the hearing.
During the proceedings, Ngan testified that his supervisor, Nguyen Bac Nang, instructed him to pack the goods and give the package to Luu Ngoc Kinh, chief of the transportation company without announcing its contents.
Kinh, meanwhile, said that without knowing what was inside the package, she locked it up in a metal lock box along with another two parcels.
The lock box, which was put under the back seat, disappeared with one of the passengers when the bus left the Can Tho ferry, according to Kinh.
She further testified that the theft was reported to the police, who failed to launch an investigation.
While Nang argued that it was the transportation company who lost the gold and money, Kinh claimed her company never agreed to transport "precious goods."
She further argued that she had no way of knowing that the package contained gold and money.
The court, meanwhile, held SJC Cho Lon responsible, saying the goods were lost during delivery.
A judge awarded Hung more than VND841 million and 133.3 taels of gold--which are now valued at more than VND32.45 million ($1,644) apiece.