Lim Soon Lin being escorted from the courtroom on April 26
The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court on Friday sentenced 55-year-old Malaysian Lim Soon Ling to seven years in jail for using fake credit cards in Vietnam.
According to the indictment, in April 2011, Lim was hired by another Malaysian man, A Tai, to join his ring which used fake credit cards to withdraw money and buy valuable goods.
A Tai gave Lim 50 fake credit cards and two fake passports and promised him 15 percent of the money he was able to withdraw.
Between May and July 2011, Lim came to Vietnam and used 10 cards to withdraw US$19,000 and buy items worth VND56 million (US$2,690).
On July 11, 2011, Lim and his Vietnamese girlfriend Nguyen Thi Anh Thu were arrested at a bank on Mac Thi Buoi Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 from which the duo had intended to withdraw $10,000.
A subsequent search of their house produced an additional 19 fake credit cards.
Investigators said they did not seek criminal charges against Thu, who received a diamond ring from Lim as a gift, because she was not aware that Lim had used a fake credit card to purchase it.
Vu Phi Long, vice head judge of the Criminal Court at the HCMC People's Court, was quoted by VnExpress as saying that crimes involving the use of fake credit cards have been on the rise in Vietnam.
He said retailers at can ignore the crime because they do not suffer damages from the fraudulent practice.
"Banks should manage credit cards better because fake credit card users must be caught red-handed, which can be very difficult," he said.
On February 27, the Supreme People's Court increased a Malaysian man's jail term from four to seven years for using fake credit cards to buy luxury goods.
The court said Giam Wei Lun, 28, had committed an "especially serious" act by using more than 20 fake credit cards in order to steal goods worth an estimated VND300 million (US$14,400).
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."