A HCMC court sentenced two Taiwanese men to death Friday for transporting 606 kilos of methamphetamine in 2019.
Chiang Wei Chih, 32, and Yeh Ching Wei, 34, were found guilty of “illegally transporting narcotic substances.”
Prosecutors said Chiang was hired by a man with no clear identification in Taiwan to “transport goods with art products hidden inside, and find a warehouse to stash them away in Vietnam.” He was to be paid $5,000 when he finished the job and returned to Taiwan.
Chiang then asked Yeh Ching Wei to join him. The duo entered Vietnam in 2019, stayed in HCMC, hired a seven-seat car, a truck and a local man named Le Hoang Phuc as their driver.
On the morning of April 12, 2019, Chih and Wei drove the car to District 5 to do business. They ordered Phuc to drive the truck along.
The Taiwanese men received the goods delivered by a Lao man named Volavong Veopadinh. Phuc was told to carry the goods to a warehouse in Dong Nai Province that borders HCMC.
Via a CCTV camera system, traffic police in District 5 saw the group park their vehicles in the wrong place and acting suspiciously. They decided to collaborate with officers from municipal police department and followed the group all the way to District 1.
After stopping Chiang, Yeh and Phuc to inspect the seven-seat car and the truck, police found many carton boxes with loudspeakers inside. On checking 60 loudspeakers, they found hundreds of plastic bags with more than 606 kilos of meth.
Bags of meth seized from Chiang Wei Chih and Yeh Ching Wei in HCMC, April 2019. Photo by the police
The police also sent a team to follow the Lao man.
They found that he had delivered five loudspeakers with drugs hidden inside that same day to a Vietnamese man named Bui Nguyen Huy Vu in District 3 before returning to Laos.
Extending the investigation, police inspected the warehouse of Ngoc Van Transportation Company in District 10 and seized 38 more loudspeakers with 452 kilos of drugs inside.
The owner of the firm said he did not know that he was transporting and storing illegal drugs. He had been asked by a Vietnamese customer named Tran Hong Nhat, who lives in Thailand, to transport loudspeakers and that is all that he did.
In April, Major General Nguyen Van Vien, head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Drug Crime Investigation Department (C04), said at a meeting that HCMC, Vietnam’s biggest city had become an increasingly important hub for drug smugglers who were resorting to “extremely sophisticated and cunning tricks.”
He said the distance to transport drugs from the border to the city was short and it was convenient to send it to other places, both within Vietnam and abroad.
The result has been that drug crime has developed most complicatedly in southern Vietnam, particularly HCMC and the area along the Vietnam-Cambodia border, he added.
In Vietnam, those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of meth face the death penalty. The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.
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