Man gets death for murder, robbery in Vietnam metro

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Cao Trung Lap, 29 (C) at the hearing on Friday when he was sentenced to death for killing Hoang Ngoc Tri, 26, after stealing the latter's laptop and injuring three other men, including a police officer. Photo by Le Quang

A Ho Chi Minh City court Friday found 29-year-old Cao Trung Lap guilty of murder and sentenced him to death.

In the incident that happened last September, three other men, including a police officer, was injured.

According to the indictment, Lap approached and snatched a bag containing the laptop of Hoang Ngoc Tri, 26, a new university graduate, on a street in Tan Binh District in the morning of September 17.

Tri chased and crashed his motorbike into Lap's and they fell onto the street.

Lap left his bike and the stolen bag and ran, but Tri also left his bike and continued to chase Lap and held him, prompting the robber to stab Tri in the heart with a knife.

Tri died in the hospital later that day.

Vo Sy Hoang, a police officer in Tan Phu District, and a passer-by named Nguyen Van Binh pursued him. Lap stabbed Hoang behind the ear and Binh in the arms.

Lap continued to run and accosted another man on a motorbike, Tran Van Nam. He asked Nam to give him a ride so he could escape and stabbed the latter in the hip when he refused.

Soon after, Lap was caught by people as he tried to escape on a motorbike which had its key in the ignition.

Lap told the court that he had not deliberately killed Tri. He said he stabbed the victim to escape the scene because he was afraid of being arrested, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported Friday.

But the judges' panel said that his acts were extremely brutal and showed his contempt for the law and others' lives.

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They ordered Lap to pay a total of VND189 million to Tri's family.

Lap had been sentenced to four years and a half in prison for robbery in 2006.

Death penalty statistics are not released in Vietnam, but the punishment is handed down most frequently to those convicted of murder or drug-trafficking. 

Vietnam officially switched from the firing squad to lethal injection  in November 2011.

However, a lack of lethal injection doses led to a delay of executions because the original decree stipulated that the drugs be imported from the European Union (EU).

The EU banned the exportation of lethal injection drugs because it regards capital punishment to be a violation of human rights.

The Vietnamese government later amended the decree, which took effect on June 27, allowing domestic-made drugs.

Last August, Vietnam executed its first prisoner by lethal injection , ending a two-year pause in capital punishment.

There are currently 586 people on the death row in the country.

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