Foreigners who commit crimes in Vietnam will be prosecuted under Vietnamese law, with the exception of those who are entitled to diplomatic or consular immunity under Vietnamese law, as specified in international treaties to which Vietnam is a member or under international customs.
Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City police investigation agency detained and prosecuted three Malaysian nationals, Leaw Boon Kiat (36 years old), Thong Joon King (32 years old), and Gan Ban Lee (42 years old), for organizing others to stay in Vietnam illegally.
The suspects brought 30 Indonesian citizens to Vietnam, held them against their will, and forced them to commit fraud through phone calls. They divided the group into six, with the first group arriving in November 2022 and the last group arriving on March 10, 2023.
After arriving in Vietnam, the Indonesian victims had their passports and phones confiscated, and were taken to a building at 455 Binh Quoi (Ward 28, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City), where they were not allowed to leave. The suspects coerced them into impersonating public prosecutors, police officers, bank employees, and others, and making phone calls to people in Indonesia to transfer money and steal assets.
The Ho Chi Minh City police will cooperate with Interpol and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Chiefs of Police to return the 30 Indonesian victims to their country according to regulations.
Lawyer Dao Le Thu (Sophie Dao), a member of HCMC Bar Association explained that Article 5 of the Criminal Law stipulates that foreigners who commit crimes in Vietnam will be prosecuted under Vietnamese law.
However, Article 5, Clause 2 specifies that foreigners who commit crimes on Vietnamese territory and are entitled to diplomatic or consular immunity under Vietnamese law, as specified in international treaties to which Vietnam is a member or under international customs, will have their criminal responsibility resolved according to the provisions of the international treaty or international custom. If the international treaty does not provide for this, their criminal responsibility will be resolved through diplomatic channels.
Foreigners who are entitled to diplomatic or consular immunity under Vietnamese law include foreign diplomatic representative offices, consular offices, and other offices under the law on foreign representative offices, according to lawyer Dao Le Thu.