A scrap vendor in Ho Chi Minh City who accidentally found more than 5 million Japanese yen (US$42,073) in her scrap a year ago was not given the money as promised on Tuesday after a woman told the police the money belonged to her husband.
Huynh Thi Anh Hong, 36, from the central province of Quang Ngai, would have got the money if no one had made a claim by April 28, a year after the police issued a notice to find the owner of the money.
Under Vietnamese law, the finder is entitled to keep money classified as “ownerless.”
In almost a year no one had claimed the yen, but on Monday (April 27) the police told Hong she could not take the money since Pham Thi Ngot, 42, had told them just a few days earlier that the money belonged to her South African husband.
According to Hong, the money was in a wooden box inside a rusty iron box with wheels that a stranger had sold to her in late 2013 for VND100,000 ($4.63).
She had kept the box, which looked like a cassette player loudspeaker, and only broke it open in March 2014 to salvage and sell the metal.
Bills flew out of the box and people nearby tried to grab some. Soon strangers lined up outside her door, all demanding some of the money.
Hong was afraid and called the police. The police of Tan Binh District, where Hong was boarding for nearly 20 years, then confiscated the money and issued a note to find the owner.
Pham Thi Ngot. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre / Duc Thanh
Ngot told the police her husband once told her that he saved 6 million yen in a box but he could not remember exactly where he hid the box. In November 2013 Ngot gave the box along with other scrap to a cousin who then sold them to a vendor.
Ngot said her husband earned the money while working as a teacher in Japan.
But since he is currently not in Vietnam, she does not have papers to prove the claim, she said.
Nguyen Duc Chanh of the HCMC Bar Association told Thanh Nien that if Ngot’s claim is true, she would have to produce bank documents to prove the money was sent to her legally.
Otherwise, her husband would face charges for illegally sending foreign money to Vietnam, he said.