Vietnam customs officer escapes jail time in massive smuggling case

By Phan Thuong, Thanh Nien News

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 Three people stand trial in Ho Chi Minh City on January 29, 2016 for smuggling 10 containers of goods worth over $1.15 million in December 2014. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre
A dismissed customs officer in Ho Chi Minh City has received a three-year suspended sentence for allowing a man to smuggle 10 containers of goods worth over VND26 billion (US$1.15 million) in 2014.
Bui Anh Tuan, 39, was convicted of "lacking responsibility, resulting in serious consequences" by a local court on Friday.
Prosecutors said he failed to screen the containers imported from China by Ho Ba Chay, who is still at large.
Tuan's colleague Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, who died during the investigation, was bribed to clear the shipment, they said.
Chay's hired importer Lam Luong Quang, 52, who declared the goods as door knobs and screws with a total value of VND930 million ($41,300).
But more than 6.5 million items in the containers were actually alcohol, cosmetics and chemicals, and banned products such as used computer monitors and electronic firecrackers, according to the indictment.
Quang was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "smuggling." Chau Thanh Nhan, 46, and Ta Quang Trinh, 40, who assisted Quang in the case, received jail terms of nine and 10 years for the same charges.

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