Corrupt officials can escape death if they are contrite, Vietnam lawmakers decide

By Manh Quan, Thanh Nien News

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Duong Chi Dung (C), former chairman of state shipping giant Vinalines, stood an appeal trial in Hanoi last April. He and one of his subordinates were sentenced to death for embezzling VND10 billion (US$474,000) each in a dock scam busted in May 2012. Photo: Manh Quan Duong Chi Dung (C), former chairman of state shipping giant Vinalines, stood an appeal trial in Hanoi last April. He and one of his subordinates were sentenced to death for embezzling VND10 billion (US$474,000) each in a dock scam busted in May 2012. Photo: Manh Quan

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People convicted of embezzlement or bribery can escape the death penalty if they return at least three quarters of the ill-gotten wealth and blow the whistle on others involved under amendments to the Penal Code approved by the National Assembly Friday.
The amendments take effect next July.
Nearly 70 percent of lawmakers voted for the changes.
Embezzlement of more than VND500 million and receiving bribes of more than VND300 million while also “causing serious consequences” are now punishable by death.
The amendments also abolish capital punishment for robbery, drug possession, drug appropriation, the production and trade of fake food, destruction of projects of national security importance, surrendering to the enemy, and opposing order.
“The [changes] are aimed at carrying out the Party and State’s policy of reducing the death penalty,” Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the National Assembly’s Judicial Committee, said.
There will be no more death sentences for people ages 75 or above.
Also, for the first time companies -- legal persons as described by law – have been made liable for crimes.

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