HCMC judge arrested for trespass, commandeering woman's house

By Quoc Thang   October 1, 2019 | 11:30 pm PT
HCMC judge arrested for trespass, commandeering woman's house
Nguyen Hai Nam (L), deputy chief justice in HCMC's District 4, listens to the police arrest warrant. Photo by VnExpress/
The HCMC police arrested a district deputy chief justice on Tuesday for allegedly trespassing into and forcefully occupying a person's house.

Nguyen Hai Nam of the District 4 court was arrested after Hoang Thi Thu Thao, a woman living on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street in District 1, reported that Nam and an accomplice had used force to evict her and her family from her house and occupied it.

Lam Hoang Tung, a lecturer at the HCMC Procurator Professional Training School, was Nam's alleged accomplice.

Preliminary investigation by the District 1 police found that Nam, Tung, a dozen people wearing security guards' uniforms, and a woman from the bailiff's office arrived at Thao's house on September 19 while she was away and proceeded to occupy it.

A scuffle ensued between them and the house's occupants, but the group dressed as security guards succeeded in driving Thao's family out of the house before locking themselves inside.

Nam, Tung and a woman in the group picked up Thao's three children aged three months to three years and attempted to put them in a taxi.

But the family and neighbors accused the three of kidnapping and successfully pressured the taxi driver into turning them down.

Nam and Tung reportedly left the children in front of the house before leaving.

Thao’s attempts to reenter the house were met with violence from the occupants, prompting her to complain to the police.

The police evicted the security guards from the house last Saturday while the HCMC People's Court suspended Nam from his duties.

Thao said doors had been removed from 14 rooms, furniture was overturned and eight clocks, a pair of earrings, VND130 million ($5,600) in cash, and many expensive cosmetic items had disappeared.

She had bought the house when it was under construction from a woman named Chi in 2017 for VND25 billion ($1.08 million), she said.

She is yet to pay VND9 billion, and so the house was still in Chi's name at the time of the incident.

Tung said he was a co-owner of the house with Chi, and violations committed by Thao while making changes to it had resulted in him and Chi being fined and unable to finish its construction.

A few months earlier he and a group of people had met Thao and said he was authorized by Chi to handle the procedures.

Thao disagreed and filed a suit.

Tung said he had requested her on several occasions subsequently to fix the violations or let him do it but was ignored, prompting him to take things into his own hands.

On September 19 he hired Thanh Ho Security Services Co. Ltd. and asked the District 1 bailiff's office to send an official to help take possession of the house, he said.

Tung claimed the house's occupants had gone out leaving the three children behind, and so he, Nam and the woman from the bailiff's office only helped bring the children outside.

Nam claimed he was unaware that there was a dispute regarding the house and was only present at the scene due to a contract to rent a room at the house.

He also denied the accusation of kidnapping and said he had been asked to watch over one of the three children by someone during the scuffle.

According to investigators, there is enough evidence to show that Thao and her family had been living in the house legally, and so Tung had indeed been trespassing, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, while Nam could be considered his accomplice.

The investigation is continuing.

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