Bizzare criminal charge against ‘Pho’ owner dropped: chief procurator

By    April 24, 2016 | 12:20 pm GMT+7
Bizzare criminal charge against ‘Pho’ owner dropped: chief procurator
Nguyen Van Tan, owner of a a small

A criminal charge against the owner of a ‘Pho’ noodle restaurant on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City for five days late in business registration has been dropped after the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People's Procuracy found the man not guilty of "illegally doing business".

Local prosecutors have been asked to cancel the prosecution proceedings against the ‘Pho’ owner, after chief procurator Le Minh Tri said that the restaurant owner had not violated Article 159 of the Criminal Code, which punishes individuals for conducting business without a registration certificate.

Chief procurator Tri’s decision put an end to the case against Nguyen Van Tan, owner of a small business inBinh Chanh district in the suburban area of Ho Chi Minh City, which has evoked public concern and criticism of the administration of justice and even prompted intervention from Prime Minister.

After a meeting on Saturday with the Chief Procurator of the Supreme People's Procuracy, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Procuracy directed the prosecutors of Binh Chanh district to immediately terminate the previously issued indictment, make a public apology to Tan and offer him appropriate compensation for possible damages.

Two prosecution officers, including Le Thanh Tong, deputy head of Binh Chanh district’s procuracy and prosecutor Ho Van Son, have been suspended from office.

Nguyen Van Tan, 50 years old, opened a restaurant August last year, offering the main dish ‘Pho’ and coffee drinks during breakfast and lunch. Eight months later, he was faced with a criminal charge of “doing business illegally” after district police had come to check on his business several times and then accused him of “doing business without a registration certificate” as well as “breaking regulations” on food safety and hygiene standards.

The district prosecutor issued an indictment against Tan on March 11.

When the case started to attract media attention last week, top government officials had to jump in to prevent a possible public outcry about an unfair business environment in the country.

The Prime Minister, in a meeting last Wednesday, requested Ho Chi Minh City’s government to intervene and identify the individuals responsible for bringing criminal charges against the noodle restaurant owner.

Secretary of the city's Party Committee Dinh La Thang asked the chief prosecutor of the municipal procuracy to thoroughly review the case and instructed Binh Chanh police to submit a detailed report.

He stressed that if the local authorities had been wrong to bring a criminal charge against the restaurant owner, they would face severe punishment.

The 2013 Constitution clearly states that the State allows people to do business in areas that are not prohibited. And such crime of “illegally doing business” will no longer be criminalized when the newly revised penal code comes into effect in July 2016.

 
 
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