Wei Nai Kui being escorted by the police at the Supreme People's Court on April 26. Photo: C.Mai
A court of appeals in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday upheld a verdict handed down last December by the court of first instance in Tay Ninh Province which sentenced Chinese national Wei Nai Kui to death for drug smuggling.
The appeals court said 57-year-old Wei had smuggled a large amount of illegal drugs into Vietnam, which could endanger society. Also, the court found no reason to punish Wei, who had appealed the verdict, more leniently, news website VnExpress reported.
According to the verdict, Wei met another Chinese man, identified only as Minh, at the Kinh Gioi Casino in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where he was recruited to join Minh's drug smuggling ring.
According to their agreement, Wei would smuggle 40 bags of methamphetamine from Cambodia to China through Vietnam for US$4,000.
On July 7, 2012, Wei entered Vietnam through Tay Ninh's Moc Bai Border Gate and took a taxi to Ho Chi Minh City.
However, Tay Ninh Police caught him as he was going through Trang Bang District's Gia Binh Commune.
Police seized 80,000 methamphetamine tablets and more than 12.3 kilograms of crystal ice (crystal meth).
According to Vietnam's judicial procedures, a decision rendered by an appeals court takes effect immediately, while a court of first instance's verdict only takes effect if it is not appealed.
It was not the first case in which a Chinese national has been sentenced to death in Vietnam for smuggling drugs into the country from Cambodia per the instructions of an unidentified Chinese man they met in a Cambodian casino.
On October 31, 2012, a court of first instance in Tay Ninh handed down the death penalty to 51-year-old Zhang Zhi Hua, an employee of a casino in Phnom Penh, for transporting around 11 kilograms of methamphetamine from Cambodia to Vietnam.
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.