A Vietnamese-American man has filed a petition to the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, asking for help to recover his two passports that he claimed have been “illegally kept” by a local woman.
Meanwhile, this woman, Lieu Thi Long Xuyen, 38, a businesswoman in southern Dong Nai Province, denied having held the papers of the man, Nguyen Son Nam, a native of northern Hai Phong City who also has U.S. nationality, the VnExprss Agency reported on Monday.
One of the passports is numbered N.139.4022, which was issued by the Vietnamese Embassy in the U.S., while the other, No. 471.043.676, was granted by the American authorities in San Francisco.
As shown in his petition, Nam, who has a contact address in Ho Chi Minh City, said a local man had introduced him to Xuyen so that the woman, who is director of Trans-Pacific Logistics, Trading and Tourism One-Member Co., Ltd., based in Dong Nai’s Bien Hoa City, would help him deal with a land dispute.
Nam and Xuyen signed a contract in which her firm would give him legal consultancy on how to protect his property in Vietnam and would carry out procedures to obtain an identity card and a household registration book for the Vietnamese American.
The total value of the contract is VND90 million (US$4,230), which would be paid to Xuyen’s company as service fees.
Nam said that after signing the contract, he handed his two passports to Xuyen, without making any document to record the handover.
On May 30, 2014, Nam transferred VND70 million to Xuyen’s bank account, the man said in his petition.
On June 12, the woman told Nam she faced difficulty in dealing with the police of Bien Hoa City.
Four days later, she asked the man to give her VND20 million, but Nam refused as Xuyen had yet to do anything for him by then, the man said.
On June 20, Xuyen told Nam she terminated all relations with him and Nam requested that the woman return him his two passports.
Xuyen then turned him down, insisting that she would give the papers back only after Nam transferred the remaining VND20 million to her, the man reported.
Both Nam and Xuyen told a VnExpress Agency reporter that they have not kept a copy of the VND90-million contract.
Xuyen said Nam kept the contract while Nam asserted that the woman had hidden the document.
On June 23, Xuyen asked Nam to sign another contract with her company to continue their business rapport but Nam rejected her suggestion, he said.
Nam added that he had also sent a letter to the Dong Nai Province Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bien Hoa City police for intervention to recover the passports.
Nam said, “As shown on the U.S. passport, the paper is the U.S.’s property. I have explained it to [Xuyen] many times but [she] has not returned the passports to me. I will not give up in this case.”
Notable text messages
Nam provided the VnExpress Agency a number of text messages sent from cellphones between him and Xuyen.
In one of these messages, the woman said she had given VND100 million ($4,700) to some Vietnamese officials in return for their help with Nam’s issues.
After receiving that message, Nam asked in his reply to her: “What have you spent VND100 million on?”
Xuyen then replied him with a message that read: “25 trieu QLTT, 20 trieu Chu tich, 20 trieu bi thu, 20 trieu chi cho viec xuong Tam Phuoc, 10 trieu dua truoc de lam HK và CMND…” (“VND25 million for the market management force, VND20 million for the Party Committee secretary, VND20 million for handling affairs in Tam Phuoc, VND10 million as prepayment for obtaining an ID card and a household registration book…”
In another massage, Xuyen said, “I’m determined to receive money from you first and I will then return your passports…”