Man extorts firm for tea bottle containing cockroach
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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have detained a young man for claiming US$2,400 from a company in exchange for his keeping silent on an unopened tea bottle containing a cockroach that he had bought from the company. Meanwhile, the company said such an incident was impossible.
Bottles of lemon green tea (The image is for illustration only) Photo: Dan Tri
27-year-old Tran Quoc Tuan was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at a café in the city’s Binh Thanh District while he was receiving the money from a staff member of Tan Hiep Phat Co Ltd, based in Binh Duong Province.
According to the case file, Tuan, a silversmith residing in Binh Thanh, discovered a cockroach inside a bottle of "Tra Xanh Khong Do" - a popular lemon green tea drink brand in Vietnam - made by Tan Hiep Phat. He then phoned the company to report his discovery.
Tan Hiep Phat had negotiated with Tuan many times over recalling the bottle, but Tuan demanded that the company pay him VND50 million ($2,400) for him to return the bottle and stay silent.
After failing in further negotiations with Tuan, the company agreed to pay him the money and at the same time reported the case to police.
Talking with Tuoi Tre yesterday, Pham Long Minh, director of the company’s external relations department, said the extortion occurred two months ago, when Tuan phoned and then came to the company to report his find.
The company explained to him that his claim that “a cockroach was found inside a tea bottle” was impossible, since the company applied a closed production chain, so an insect like cockroach cannot make its way into any tea bottle, Minh said.
However, Tuan still demanded the money, warning that if the company refused to pay him, he would make the bottle known to the public and the company’s reputation would suffer, Minh said.
Meanwhile, Tuan’s mother, Ha Thi Kim Thanh, said her son and the company had entered into a written agreement in which the company agreed to re-purchase the tea bottle for VND50 million.
Regarding this issue, Minh said Tuan had prepared the agreement alone and he and the company later signed it.
According to the document, after Tuan received the money from Tan Hiep Phat, he would never disclose his finding to anyone and the company would not take any action against him, Minh said.
The police are continuing with their investigation.