Huynh Thi Anh Hong, a scrap vendor from Quang Ngai Province, at her rented house in Ho Chi Minh City after handing over 5 million yen she found to police. Photo by Cong Nguyen
A scrap vendor in Ho Chi Minh City has given more than 5.2 million yen (US$50,830) she found to police.
Huynh Thi Anh Hong, 35, called the police to intervene after she found the money in a small box she had bought and local people began threatening her for the cash.
Hong said the money was contained in a wooden box inside a rusty iron box with wheels that a stranger had sold to her in late 2013 for VND100,000 ($4.74).
Iron was cheap at the time. She saved the box, which looked like a cassette player, and only broke it open on Friday to salvage and sell the metal.
Notes flew out of the box and many people nearby tried to take some. Soon strangers were waiting in lines outside her door that filled the alley. They all demanded some of the money.
“I really didn’t know what kind of money it was, and it drew many people, so I was very scared... I did not dare to sleep,” said Hong.
She said she has never run into such a fortune in her 14 years collecting scrap metal. “But even if people did not rush over for it, I’d still bring it to the police. I’d rather return what doesn’t belong to me.”
The woman and her husband rent a small house in an alley with other poor migrants off Tran Van Quang Street in Tan Binh District. They have two children back in their hometown in the central province of Quang Ngai who live with relatives.
“I feel relieved after giving all the money to the police. I just need to be healthy to work to send my children to school, so they won’t have a hard life like me, that’s all,” she said.
A police officer from the district said police were keeping the money, which is more than 520 old and new notes in 10,000 yen nominations, for Hong’s safety and have warned people to stop surrounding her house.
Investigators are now looking for the owner of the money and checking if it is legal.
Lawyer Nguyen Duc Chanh from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association said after one year without information from owners, the money will be given to the finders if it is worth less than ten months of the current minimum wage, according to current laws.
Otherwise, the finder will receive the value equal to ten-months' minimum wage and 50 percent of the value beyond, the rest goes to the state budget.
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