Vietnam court sentences Malaysian to 7 years for credit card fraud

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An appeal trial in Ho Chi Minh City on February 27 resulted in a Malaysian man's jail sentence being increased from four to seven years for using fake credit cards to buy luxury goods.

The Supreme People's Court, following prosecutors' appeal, said Giam Wei Lun, 28, had committed an "especially serious" act by using so many fake credit cards more than 20 in order to steal goods with an estimated value of VND300 million (US$14,400).

It said the punishment handed down by the original court was not harsh enough, news website VnExpress reported.

The indictment said Lun joined the scam in December 2011, when he met several Malaysians at a gambling den in Hanoi and agreed to use fake credit cards to buy luxury items in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and receive commissions after turning the goods over to the syndicate. Lun had arrived in Vietnam as a tourist one month earlier.

He and another member in the gang managed to buy an iPhone 4S, an iPad, and three Gucci bags in Hanoi using the fake cards, and he alone was able to purchase three iPhone 4S, 9 iPads and a tablet bag in Ho Chi Minh City, not to mention several failed attempts when the cards did not work.

But Lun had only managed to participate in the scam for several days when on December 12 a clerk at an electronics shop in Ho Chi Minh City suspected the card he was using of being a fake. While his associates managed to flee with the products, Lun ended up being apprehended by the shop's security guards.

He was initially sentenced to four years in jail by the city People's Court last November, after being convicted of "using fake papers that have monetary value."

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