Bird nest smugglers get 22, 14 years in jail

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Vo Ngoc Phuong, 42, and her accomplice Lu Chi Hao are taken out of a court in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.Photo: Phan Thuong Vo Ngoc Phuong, 42, and her accomplice Lu Chi Hao are taken out of a court in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.Photo: Phan Thuong

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A Ho Chi Minh City court Wednesday sentenced a woman to 22 years in jail for smuggling in more than six tons of bird’s nest from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Between May 2011 and July 2012 Vo Ngoc Phuong, 42, had operated a HCMC-based ring that smuggled VND36 billion worth of bird’s nest, causing losses of VND 9 billion in tax, the indictment said.
Her henchman Lu Chi Hao was sentenced to 14 years for his role in the smuggling.
Two custom officials at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport, Nguyen Quang Hung and Nguyen Minh Duc, each got a three-year term for helping the huge contraband smoothly pass through customs.
Nguyen Trung Cong, a ground service official working for Vietnam Airlines, got a two-year suspended sentence for helping the smugglers.
A court in Tay Ninh Province in 2010 handed down a four-year jail term to Phuong for illegally trafficking bird’s nest from Malaysia into Vietnam through the Cambodian border at Moc Bai.
She asked for her sentence to be postponed because of “a severe sickness”.
She then started smuggling via Hanoi.
The police, who had kept a close watch on the gang since 2012, caught them red-handed in last December.

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