Gun makers, traders face charges in northern Vietnam

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Ly Manh Luc and Nguyen Thai Viet, two illegal gun smiths who sold illicit weapons in northern Vietnam. Photo credit: Tien Phong Ly Manh Luc and Nguyen Thai Viet, two illegal gun smiths who sold illicit weapons in northern Vietnam. Photo credit: Tien Phong


Investigators from the Ministry of Public Security have suggested criminal charges for a group of firearms makers and traders operating in northern Vietnam.
A ministry statement released Sunday said they've completed their investigation and forwarded the case to the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the country’s top prosecution unit.
Prosecutors must now choose whether or not to press charges against Ly Manh Luc and Nguyen Dinh Hoc from Bac Giang Province, Nguyen Van Cuong from Bac Ninh Province, and Nguyen Thai Viet and Dong Van Bay from Thai Nguyen Province.
Luc, 47, and Cuong, 44, were arrested on February 21 after police stopped them in a taxi containing a rifle, a carbine and a gun with collapsible shoulder stock.
Police also recovered 81 rounds of ammunition.
Police said Luc had been sent to jail twice for robbery and gambling, so had Cuong, his cousin, for robbery and the illegal trade of military weapons and counterfeit currency.
During their time in prison, the duo added many gangsters into their circle and established a business providing them with weapons.
Further investigation identified Viet as a supplier.
A search of his home yielded six military-grade firearms, 134 bullets, 405 shell casings, 100 grenades, over a kilogram of gunpowder and a machine used for making guns.
Viet told the police he has assembled the guns since 2009.
After being overwhelmed with demand for firearms, he began buying and trading guns and cobbling together the parts of broken firearms.
Bay and Hoc supplied him with necessary materials, police say.
Between 2012 and 2013, he bought eight steel tubes from Bay’s iron and steel shop to use as barrels.
He also bought two kilograms of gunpowder, 129 bullet shells, 30 kilograms of lead and some explosives from Ngoc.
Bay and Hoc said they introduced Viet to suppliers of iron dust and sulfur powder.
The other suspects are being tried in a separate case.
Vietnam does not allow personal gun ownership, and all of the country's firearms are owned and maintained by the military
The manufacture and transportation of military-grade weapons is punishable by between one year and life in prison--depending on the scale of the operation.

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