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Sunday, 25 September 2011

A profitable burglary. Tan Dinh, Saigon: Vietnam memories 1965 1975


Post 108

A profitable burglary. Tan Dinh, Saigon,Vietnam

In the morning I tried to work out what had happened. We had a soft drinks vendor by the front door who sold her products to the children from the school opposite. She had had a problem with some fellow, I forget what, but he had ended up in prison. This prisoner's brother wanted to take vengeance so he stole some of her stock. By some arrangement I was not privy to she left her stock overnight in an unused front room we had. Normally the maid would have had this room but KC's brother had stored a printing press in it and lots of other junk. Once I found a family of rats breeding there and was none too happy.

Anyway this thief was a young fellow of about fifteen who was also a member of the People's Self Defense Force and was meant to be guarding our street from the Viet Cong. I slept soundly and heard nothing, but KC said she had heard tapping during the night but thought it was the
neighbours. They were doing some renovating at all hours of the day or night. The second wife of some colonel had just moved in and we had nothing to do with them. The neighbours on our other side were close friends. One kept his car in his living room every night but had still had the wheels stolen off it. In the morning we found a hole two feet by two feet in our front wall. This particular wall was of a stone laticework type. Very pretty and let the air in and of course the dust along with it. Not very solid.

I was livid I had slept through it and angry that KC had not woken me. Actually though I was probably lucky not to have got involved as it didn't do to shoot burglars. Not from a legal point of view but families did tend to take revenge. We decided to reinforce security so we built an extra wall on the street, very solid. We also aquired about four feet of the street along the front of the house at the same time which gave us an entry lobby. I imagine any curious policeman got paid off, but once the job was done it was difficult to tell where the original limit of the house was. There were no building permits or anything like that in Saigon. The house belonged to one of KC's sister's who lived in France but was in KC's name for legal reasons.

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