The shop owner’s brother-in-law is suspected of racking up the debts that attracted the vandalism.
Eight acts of vandalism over the last month, including throwing pig organs, paint and mắm tôm on the facade of District 3’s famous Pho Hoa Pasteur, forced it to shutter starting Thursday, August 3. During the most recent attack, Media reports that customers were hit with the stinky detritus and Linh, the owner of the more than 50-year-old noodle shop, admitted the assaults were harming business. He posted a multi-lingual apology for the temporary closing, citing “interior construction.”
At the time of the closing, rumors swirled regarding the owner’s brother-in-law, Tuan. Linh said he ran a phone and automobile accessory shop nearby and owed VND8 billion (US$340,000) to creditors. Tuan was unable to repay the debt in a timely manner, so — in true Vietnam fashion — the loan sharks resorted to threatening his family members to get back their money. Linh claimed Tuan had nothing to do with the ownership or operation of Pho Hoa Pasteur, and it was thus unfair that his collectors were targeting the phở restaurant.
While originally unable to locate Tuan, on Monday, August 5 police detained him at his District 3 home. The 44-year-old is allegedly cooperating with authorities and is suspected of falsifying documents to obtain property to sell. Authorities arrived at his house with search warrants, some of which related to various vehicles he’d recently purchased.
The individuals who carried out the attacks were captured on security footage and allegedly identified. In a press conference held this afternoon, the HCMC Police Department said that they have detained five men suspected of carrying out the vandalism and two others for aiding them.
Located at 260C Pasteur, Pho Hoa has been a local mainstay for decades. The casual phở joint is popular among locals and tourists alike and is featured on numerous travel blogs and guidebooks.