HCMC – Two Taiwanese nationals including Chiang Wei Chih, aged 32, could face the death penalty for trafficking over 606 kilograms of drugs.
The HCMC People’s Procuracy recently issued an indictment against the two foreigners based on the Penal Code. Each of them could be sentenced to 20 years, life imprisonment or capital punishment. The men were previously charged with fraud, murder and vandalism by the Taiwanese authority.
Chih confessed that he had entered Vietnam three times since 2018. On April 10 last year, Mr. Tran, who is a friend of Chih’s brother-in-law and was running a dance club in Taiwan, hired Chih to travel to Vietnam to transport a shipment of electronic and handicraft goods and find a warehouse there to hide them. Chih was asked to return to Taiwan once he completed the task and would be paid US$5,000.
Upon his arrival in Vietnam, Chih requested Yeh Ching Wei to jointly monitor the transportation of the shipment. They rented a self-drive seven-seater car and a truck driven by Le Hoang Phuc to transfer the goods.
On April 11, they arrived at a hotel in downtown HCMC to meet Volavong Veopadinh, a Lao national, with Chih meant to return to the hotel and receive the goods the following day.
While they were transferring the goods in HCMC’s District 5, the local traffic police caught them for violating parking rules and suspected they were transporting banned goods.
The police then chased the suspects and managed to stop the seven-seater car with Chih and Wei inside as well as a truck driven by Le Hoang Phuc near Thu Thiem Tunnel.
After inspecting the truck transporting 60 cartons containing abnormally heavy black portable loudspeakers without any invoices or relevant legal documents, the police discovered over 606 kilograms of methamphetamine disguised as 590 tea packets hidden in the loudspeakers.
The police then continued to chase a third vehicle driven by Pham Ngoc Khai Hoan and with Nguyen Thien Toan as passenger. They were caught in the act of delivering five loudspeakers to Bui Nguyen Huy Vu, a 38-year-old resident of District 3. Vu was later arrested while he was concealing the drugs.
On April 13, the police raided a warehouse in District 10 and seized an additional 38 loudspeakers containing some 452 kilograms of drugs, following the confessions of Hoan and Toan.
According to the indictment, Chih and Wei refused to make honest confessions. They said they were hired to transport the shipment without knowing its contents. However, the police have sufficient evidence to charge them for trafficking the illicit items.
Three truck drivers, Phuc, Hoan and Toan, said they were employees of Ngoc Van Logistics Company and were following their employer’s order to deliver the 60 boxes to Volavong Veopadinh at a District 1 hotel and the other five to Bui Nguyen Huy Vu on April 12.
However, Volavong Veopadinh requested Hoan and Toan to drive to a T-section linking Huynh Man Dat and Vo Van Kiet streets to deliver the goods to Chih and Wei.
The owner of Ngoc Van company, Tran Quoc Thai, said his trade partner in Thailand, Tran Hong Nhat, on April 11, hired his firm to deliver 103 loudspeakers to customers in Vietnam. Nhat demanded that 65 boxes be delivered to Volavong Veopadinh and Vu. The remaining boxes were seized by the police before being sent to another customer.
Earlier, Tran Hong Nhat had hired Ngoc Van company to deliver 30 similar loudspeakers to Yeow yong Chin, a Malaysian citizen.
The investigators stated that they found no evidence to charge Tran Quoc Thai and his employees as they did not know the goods were drugs. Regarding Volavong Veopadinh and Yeow yong Chin who have left Vietnam, the police are investigating the cases.
The police will also investigate Bui Nguyen Huy Vu for allegedly transporting and storing illicit drugs in another case.