The incident in Quang Binh, in which village officials came from house to house to collect the money given by singer Thuy Tien’s charity campaign was real and made public opinion really outraged.
This is the act of robbery of property of the people, speaking in folk language, or the act of forfeiting property as provided for in Article 170 of the Criminal Code. Because the money was owned by the people, the cadres who came to collect was the act of appropriating property.
Of course, the local officials used their authority to force the people to hand over money as ordinary people couldn’t come to take money out of people’s hands, just stealing.
Mr. Nguyen Hoang Anh – vice chairman of People’s Committee of Quang Trach district, Quang Binh province, said district leaders instructed officials of Ngoa Cuong village, Canh Hoa commune to return money to people after the incident was noisy with many backlash on social networks.
“The district has issued instructions to return all to the people by noon this day. The reason why the collection, the district authorities will immediately clarify later,” Mr. Hoang Anh was quoted by Phu Nu Online newspaper as saying.
On October 28, singer Thuy Tien and her husband, former football star Le Cong Vinh, returned to Canh Hoa commune, representing donors to give cash to the people whose properties were damaged by the floods.
Canh Hoa commune has 703 households receiving support, each household gets VND6 million ($25); Ngo Ngo Cuong village alone has 69 households receiving support totaling VND414 million.
After the people of Ngoa Cuong received the above amount, the village cadres went to each house and collected the whole amount, said the sum would be divided equally among 170 households in the village.
In a live video on the afternoon of October 29, singer Thuy Tien said she had received information about robbing the donations from people and she pledged to verify to get money back for people.
Thuy Tien also told people many times that people must keep money and “not give this money to anyone” otherwise she will collect it.
Quang Binh online newspaper on the evening of October 29 confirmed that the staff of Ngoa Cuong village, Canh Hoa commune, Quang Trach district, Quang Binh province collected money from people after singer Thuy Tien Phat donating them was real, but is to “ensure fairness, harmony and preserve the solidarity, sticking to village love and neighborhood.”
On the morning of October 29, 2020, the Facebook account “Nguyen Thi Hang Nguyen” posted the following status line:
“My house was flooded and we received money donation from Thuy Tien, but it was collected by the village officials. Actually, I don’t agree. This story I will go to clarify.”
The information after being posted has attracted many people to comment, share and express dissatisfaction, disagreeing with the way of local authorities.
After that, Nguyen Thi Hang Nguyen Facebook account could no longer be accessed because many people advised her to remove to avoid being punished by the network security authorities.
Quang Binh Online Newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Quang Binh has an article titled Need to understand the nature of the relief money collection in Ngo Ngo Cuong village.
According to author Ky Son, “In order to ensure fairness, harmony and preserve the solidarity, attachment to village love, hamlet justice, in previous years, the staff and villagers of Ngoa Cuong discussed and went to agree on the policy, when there are flood relief activities, for the goods, people will enjoy them, and the cash will be collected by the village.
At the end of the session, the village cadres will have a meeting with the people to review, balance, and redistribute them to each household, with priority given to households with heavy losses.
This time, with the support of singer Thuy Tien, the village staff also performed as in previous years.
However, due to the lack of understanding of the information, the Facebook account owner ‘Nguyen Thi Hang Nguyen’ hastily posted the information, causing misunderstanding, reactions in public opinion, and the online community,” the Quang Binh newspaper gave such an explanation.
In June this year, information about poor people in Ba Nang commune (Dakrong district, Quang Tri) had to give back to village officials VND50,000 each from donations to “drink water” after receiving the money to support the damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the state, which also caused frustration in public opinion.
In 2016, people of Trung Thon village, Ba Don commune, Quang Binh province were also forced to contribute VND400,000 to the village leadership after receiving VND500,000 from a relief team from Ho Chi Minh City on the pretext of sharing it with other households in the village. After facing harsh public reactions, the government had to return the above money to households.
Facebook Nguyen Ngoc Minh commented: “The government did not respect the power of people’s donation, Thuy Tien’s merits and despised public opinion. We donated to Thuy Tien because she came to the place. Personally and now the cadres use the excuse of backwardness and collect them. Therefore, from the beginning, we did not choose to raise money for the Fatherland Front.”
Someone even questioned the law, saying that Thuy Tien donated money to the people, it was the legal property of the people. Therefore, the fact that the officials only focus on the policy to recover the people’s money is an act of property infringement.
FB Bo Anh commented:
“If they don’t give money to the local officials, they will meet difficulties when they have administrative affairs that need verification from the local officials.”
On his personal Facebook, Dr. Nguyen Quang A spoke up:
“Thuy Tien’s money for the flood-affected people is owned by the people! Those who collect them are robbers who break the law: robbery, deception, violence.”
Lawyer Luan Le commented:
“Robbing from people – local officials have not helped the flood victims but in the name of power to rob people who are in great misery, it cannot be human. These gangs need to be prosecuted and tried with proper punishment so that others will falter before plotting to steal people’s lives, especially in tragedy.
The reason was given by the village officials – to collect the people’s charity money is to divide it equally among all 170 households in the village – is downright ridiculous. Why do you take money from flood-affected families to divide it with those who are not affected? So wrong, can officials also do and be justified?
It is difficult to understand, why is it that in many places, households in the Central region have still thought that they must pay fully owned money to the village or commune? They may not be able to realize their position as master but always think of themselves as an ant worm, in the most miserable and hungry they are still afraid and submit to their power and authority,” lawyer Luan Le stated his point of view.
“Robbing people’s charitable money, why do shameful games keep recurring?” is the opinion of readers of Hai Long on VTC News.
“There is an explanation, the households who receive the money also want to share with other households. It is really arguing. If they really want to share, they will do it themselves, no need to rely on local officials, and they would not angrily “denounce” on social networks,” readers Hai Long wrote.
“This is not the first time that something similar has happened. Over the years, the press has reported many cases of grassroots officials robbing relief money donated by groups and volunteers with the reason for sharing with other families.
Every time, the public reacted fiercely and the officials then had to return the money to the people, yet this act of self-plastering of rice husks still took place.
As far as I understand, the charity money that people are awarded is their legal property guaranteed by the law. That means that the money is untouchable. So who gives these officials the right to “collect” money from the people? If the above interpretation is correct, these officials have seriously violated the law.
And also, who can be sure that these officials will “collect” the charity money without fraud? Who can control them?
Try asking the officials, if their families get donations and then someone comes to claim it to divide it with other houses, is it acceptable for them? No, of course. Then let me ask, “What is your legal act of ‘collecting’ people’s donations?” Mr. Hai Long asked harshly.