Friday, June 23, 2006

Vietnam sentences two men to death for heroin dealing

Mainichi Daily News

Hanoi, Vietnam (AP) - A court in northern Vietnam sentenced two men to death for selling 5.3 kilograms of heroin, a court official said Friday.

Bui Xuan Thai and Nguyen Van Chinh were given the death penalty after being convicted in a one-day trial Thursday in Thai Binh province, about 100 kilometers southeast of Hanoi, said presiding judge Tran Van Loan.

Two other men received life imprisonment and another was given 20 years in jail for involvement in the ring, he said.

Loan said Thai and Chinh were arrested in January while transporting 1.4 kilograms of heroin in Thai Binh's Dong Hung District.

The five confessed to the court that they had traded a total of 5.3 kilograms of heroin from last September until their arrests, the judge said.

Separately, two American citizens of Vietnamese origin were sentenced to 20 years in jail each for selling the party drug Ecstasy, Friday's Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported.

The two men from Texas identified as Quach Phan Phuoc and Le Dinh Duy were convicted of selling 3,800 Ecstasy tablets last year, it said, adding that three other Vietnamese men were sentenced to between eight years and 15 years in prison for involvement in the case.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Possessing, trading or trafficking more than 600 grams of heroin or 20 kilograms of opium are punishable by the firing squad.

About 100 people are sentenced to death each year in Vietnam for drug-related offenses.


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