Triwenning Puji Astuli (L) in police custody in September 2014. File photo.
A court in Hanoi sentenced an Indonesian woman to life in prison on Thursday over the smuggling of nearly 5kg of heroine from Malaysia into Vietnam last September.
According to the indictment, Triwenning Puji Astuli worked as a babysitter and could barely eke out a living.
Last May, Astuli agreed to smuggle drugs for some men and managed to sneak them through Malaysia and Indonesia to Hong Kong three times. She got US$250 per such trip.
In August 2014, she was hired to smuggle drugs from Malaysia to Hanoi. The drugs were hidden in the covers of six comic books, titled Winnie the Pooh and Best Friends.
On September 12, 2014, she was arrested at a hotel in Hanoi where the police found the drugs weighing 4.929 kg in total.
During questioning, Astuli confessed that an African man named Stanly, who had only contacted her via phone and the Internet, had hired her to smuggle the drugs into Vietnam.
Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face the death penalty. The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.
In January, a Vietnamese woman was among six foreign drug convicts executed by a firing squad in Indonesia.
Tran Thi Bich Hanh, 37, was shot in Boyolali, Central Java, while the other five on Nusakambangan Island, the Jakarta Post reported.
Hanh was sentenced to death in November 2011 for smuggling drugs into Indonesia in nine different cases.
She was arrested at Adi Soemarmo in Boyolali while carrying 1.1 kilograms of methamphetamine in her body.