A Taiwanese man was sentenced to death in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday for trafficking around 317 kg of heroin.
Chen Tsen Wei, 34, was charged with illegal transport of narcotic substances, HCMC People’s Court heard.
Two accomplices, Yen Yung Chu and Yu Chi Fu, both Taiwanese, are still on the run.
According to the indictment, Chen and the others entered Vietnam in November 2018 and settled in the southern province of Binh Duong, which borders HCMC. They subsequently rented warehouses in both Binh Duong and HCMC, masquerading as a glue business.
Chen and Yen trafficked around 1.5 tons of meth from one warehouse to another in Binh Duong by car in early 2019. First, they tried to disguise the drugs using gypsum powder, before simply placing the packages into wooden crates to be shipped to Taiwan.
When the crates finally reached Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City, local police found them to contain meth and arrested various traffickers, who ratted out Chen and his accomplices.
In February 2019, Chen again entered Vietnam on similar business. With Yen, he drove two trucks carrying 100-200 kg of drugs from a warehouse in Binh Duong to a hotel in HCMC’s District 10, later handed to Yu.
Yu then transported the drugs to a warehouse in HCMC’s Hoc Mon District. There, the drugs were hidden inside packets resembling tea bags, mixed with bags containing plastic beads, distributed among four containers destined for Taiwan.
HCMC police at the time had already informed their Taiwanese counterparts to check on the containers, though narcotics were found in only one. Another container was said to have been shipped prior to the tip-off.
In March 2019, Chen again traveled to Vietnam. On March 27, he and Yen drove a small truck to a Binh Duong warehouse to transport drugs to the facility in HCMC’s Hoc Mon District, where the stash would be handed to Yu as on previous occasions.
However, their truck was intercepted by HCMC police. Chen, failing to bribe the officers, made a run for it but was caught. Only Yen managed to escape.
Police found 895 heroin packets inside the truck, which amounted to around 317 kg.
Chen subsequently pleaded guilty to his crimes.
Vietnam has some of the harshest punishments for drug trafficking, awarding death to those convicted of possessing or smuggling over 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine, alongside those producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics.
This does not seem to have had a deterrent effect, with increasing drug trafficking cases coming to light in recent years.
Reported by Hai Duyen, @Vnexpress