Vietnam court upholds death sentence to Thai drug mule

By Le Quang, Thanh Nien News

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Chaimongkol Suracha, a 32-year-old Thai woman, was sentenced to death for smuggling around 2 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Vietnam in an appeal trial by the Supreme People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City Friday
The Supreme People’s Court, Vietnam’s highest court, on Friday upheld the death sentence to a Thai woman for smuggling nearly two kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Vietnam two years ago.
Chaimongkol Suracha, 32, was sentenced to death last August by a Ho Chi Minh City court on charge of “illegally transporting drugs.”
Chaimongkol told the court that a compatriot introduced her to a man named Mieara who he said would help her land a job early August 2012, after she graduated from college.
On August 12, 2012, Mieara took her to Vietnam to meet the manager of an automobile export company, but then said the company had a job vacancy in Brazil, so they took a flight to the South American nation that night.
When they arrived in Brazil, Mieara gave her US$1,000 for expenses and left.
Chaimongkol said she was watched by another African man.
On August 28, 2012, two other African men told her to return to Vietnam to meet the manager of the car company and get the job Mieara had earlier promised.
The men gave her two photo albums, saying someone would meet her to receive the albums in Vietnam.
Chaimongkol was arrested October 1, 2012 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, after Vietnamese customs officers discovered cocaine in the two albums.
The cocaine wrapped in four packs weighed more than 1.98 kilograms.
Chaimongkol told investigators and the judge that she did not know that the albums contained drugs.
In the appeal trail, she begged for mercy saying she had children.
But the judges said given the huge the amount of drugs she smuggled , the death sentence was justified.
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 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.

 

Vietnam officially switched from the firing squad to lethal injection in November 2011. But it was not until last August that the country executed its first prisoner with the new method due to the unavailability of drugs used for lethal injections.
There are currently over 500 people on the death row in Vietnam.

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