Vietnam scrap vendor finally lays her hands on $31,000 fortune

Thanh Nien News

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Huynh Thi Anh Hong, 36, a scrap vendor, speaks to Thanh Nien after receiving more than 5 million Japanese yen at a HCMC bank on June 2. Photo: Doc Lap

A Ho Chi Minh City scrap vendor who found more than 5 million Japanese yen (VND880 million, US$40,353) in a speaker sold to her as junk received the money Tuesday after the police established that the money was "ownerless."
On Tuesday police in Tan Binh District invited Huynh Thi Anh Hong, 36, to a bank and gave her all the money – 524 10,000-yen bills.
But only 400 of the notes were intact. Hong changed the notes and got a total VND691 million ($31,675).
She said she would keep the 124 rotten notes and see if she could change them at a Japanese bank.
She told the media she would continue to be a scrap vendor and not move to another house.
“My life will remain the same,” she said.
She plans to visit some charity centers and donate rice and milk to orphans and homeless people.
Hong’s story attracted much public attention due to the ups and downs she experienced before she was able to lay her hands on the unexpected fortune.
She had found the money in a small wooden box hidden inside a speaker she had bought from a customer in late 2013 for VND100,000 ($4.58).
She kept the speaker and only broke it open the next March to recycle the metal.
Bank notes flew out of the box and people in the vicinity tried to grab some. Soon strangers lined up outside her door, all demanding some of the money.
Hong was afraid and called the police in Tan Binh District, where the woman from the central province of Quang Ngai has been living for nearly 20 years.
The police confiscated the money and issued a note on April 28, 2014, asking the owner, if any, to come and claim the money.
Hong would have got the money if no one had made a claim within a year.
But on April 10 this year a woman named Pham Thi Ngot contacted the police saying the money belonged to her South African husband, who had put it in a box and forgotten about it.
The police then told Hong they needed more time to investigate.
She lodged a complaint arguing that the one-year deadline had passed.
Ha Hai, a lawyer who represented Hong for free, threatened to take the case to court if the police did not give a satisfactory reply.
He questioned the legal basis on which the police extended the deadline to find the owner of the money.
On May 19 the police told Hong they had rejected Ngot’s claim as “baseless” and promised to give her the money.

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