A court in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau have sent three locals to prison for organizing illegal migrations to Australia.
Nguyen Trung Tien, 31, got five years while Mai Van Vien, 36, and Tran Van Hieu, 28, three and a half years.
Nguyen Huy Thiep remains at large.
The court found Tien guilty of starting an illegal immigration service in early 2013 with information provided by his relatives then working in Australia.
He approached relatives, friends and recruited Hiep to advertise the service to strangers for VND100-150 million each.
Vien (Tien’s neighbor) was assigned to buy a boat with which to smuggle the migrants into Australia.
Vien later hired Hieu to assist him in the task.
A total of 84 customers were loaded onto a boat on the night of June 28 of last year only to be caught two weeks later while approaching the Australian coast.
According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, in April 1976, the first boat carrying Vietnamese asylum seekers arrived on Australia’s northern shores and in the following five years, over 50 additional boats carrying more than 2,000 Vietnamese followed.
Illegal migration to Australia has continued for nearly forty years after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
Hundreds of Vietnamese people have been smuggled to Australia since 2009, many of them from Vung Tau and the north-central Nghe An Province.
In recent years, Vietnam has become more aggressive about sentencing smugglers to jail in Vung Tau.
The migrants themselves were forced to return home in most of the cases, after they had spent a great deal on the trip.
Australia also maintains detention camps in Papua New Guinea and other outlying islands to house people who arrive illegally by boat.