Vietnam court sentences woman to death for smuggling heroin

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A Ho Chi Minh City court has sentenced a woman to death for attempting to smuggle around three kilograms of heroin from Vietnam into Cambodia.


Nguyen Thi Thanh, 51, was tried along with 22-year-old Dhinh Thi Mai Thuy, who received a life sentence after being convicted of the same crime.


According to the indictment, Thuy came to Cambodia in 2011 where she lived with an Angolan man named Kingsley Chibueze Odioneye.


An African friend of Odioneye named Smitking asked Thuy to join a transnational drug smuggling ring and she accepted.


She also asked her friend Thanh, who was traveling in Cambodia, to join the ring.


In mid October last year, Thuy agreed to transport a batch of heroin from HCMC to Phnom Penh for US$350. She then hired Thanh to do the job for $250.


On October 27, Thanh arrived at Mien Dong Bus Station in HCMC to receive a bag from a woman and planned to take a bus departing from Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, to Cambodia, as directed by Thuy via mobile phone.


When she was waiting for the bus, a group of narcotics police seized her and the bag containing two packs of white powder, later identified as heroin, weighing more than 2.9 kilograms.


According to HCMC People's Court, Thuy escaped being sentenced to death because she has a two-month-old baby. Under Vietnamese laws, women who have children under three years old are not eligible for the death penalty.


Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. According to its Penal Code, those convicted of smuggling 100 grams of heroin or cocaine or 300 grams of other narcotics may be sentenced to death.


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