Police chase takes wing in the hunt for an official's prized birds
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | March 10, 2016 04:49 PM

A rapid police response to a series of burglaries has revealed the shockingly luxurious lifestyles of some leading officials.

Nearly VND2.8bn (USD133,000) was stolen from the house of Dang Xuan Tho, head of Kon Tum Province Department of Finance and his wife Tran Thi Xuan Lan, head of Gia Lai Province Taxation Office.

VND1.6bn was stolen from Dao Anh Kiet's house, head of HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

While VND1.2bn was stolen from the house of Lang Van Hoa, head of Bac Kan Province Department of Transport.

4.1kg of gold was stolen from house of Nguyen Thanh Quang, head of Quang Nam Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The thieves in all these cases were caught quickly. The size of the cash and assets stolen has got people talking given that the average monthly wage of an official is about VND4m. In order for such a public official to have VND1.2bn in cash savings lying around the house they would have had to work for 24 years without spending on any necessities. In order to earn VND2.8bn from saving their salary alone, they would have to work for more than half a century.

In March, another burglary attracted public attention but not because of the money stolen. Three red-whiskered bulbul birds valued at VND9m were stolen from director of Quang Nam Department of Planning and Investment, Le Phuoc Hoai Bao's house. The value in this case may have been small, but the presence of the birds turned the case into a cause celebre.


Le Phuoc Hoai Bao's house

While the thousands of burglaries that affect people every year often turn cold. It took the police just four days to discover the identity of the thieves, inspiring someone to ironically praise the speed of the case being solved, "I heard the director's birds got stolen. They are found in couple of days."

A lawyer said that the thieves could face from two to seven years of imprisonment for organised crime.

Dan Tri columnist Nguyen Duy Xuan commented that "The 30 year-old director has lost his birds! And he's the son of the former party secretary of Quang Nam Province. This is no joke, it has to be resolved quickly! Immediately, a powerful troop was mobilised to inspect, investigate and search to bring the thieves, who dare to touch the official's birds, to light!”

"After just four days, two thieves were caught. The police detained and prosecuted the offenders. The procuracy also completed the procedures at lightning speed. The court hurried to choose the best date for hearing. Justice was carried out. Security in the director's house was restored and public were left delighted by the amazing success of the case.

"This impressive crime solving crusade should be found in national records book because no other criminal investigation has ever been concluded so quickly."

What admirable results! Xuan's continued his commentary with a frank comment "If only corruption cases could have the same treatment then those committing such crimes would be truly scared. If only other cases were dealt with like that then there might have no falsely-sentenced people like Nguyen Thanh Chan and Huynh Van Nen, who undeservedly served in prison for years."

It's not entirely clear what significant contribution the director has made for his province. But at least he has done something significant in helping save the country's birds, and the act might be a deterrent for other bird thieves.

Thieves, beware. You should never steal birds from a state official.

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