The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court yesterday sentenced 9 defendants for smuggling US$1,24 million of precious wood to China.
The defendant at the trial in HCM City yesterday Photo: VnExpress
The heaviest sentence, 16 years in prison, was given to Nguyen Viet Hoa, 44, former director of Kim Loi Ltd. Company.
Chau Minh Xuyen, 51, former director of Chau Minh Advertising Film Company was sentenced to 13 years and Mac Van Nguyen, 33, former director of Nam Nguyen Company, to 12 years.
Nguyen Viet Nam, 50, a former customs officer at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cat Lai Port was sentenced to 8 years.
Nguyen The Van, another former customs officer, and four other defendants were given sentences of a 1-year suspension to a 4-year prison term.
According to the HCMC Procuracy’s charge, from 2006 to mid-2007, Hoa bought precious wood of unknown origin from the market with the intention of illegally exporting them to China.
Hoa falsely declared with Cat Lai’s customs the contents of his containers.
Through Xuyen and Nguyen, Hoa contacted Nam, who had been assigned to inspect Hoa’s containers, and offered to pay him US$600 for every container Nam would let through.
Nam accepted the offer and Hoa successfully exported 93 containers of precious wood worth VND26 billion ($1,24 million).
On June 14, 2007, when Hoa was trying to export another 10 containers, he was caught in the act by the police. Hoa tried to escape but was arrested in November 2007 near the Vietnamese-Cambodian border.
While he was in hiding, through Nguyen Ngoc Khanh, director of Gia Khanh Ltd. Company, Hoa spent tens of thousands of dollar on bribery.
One lawyer from the HCMC Bar Association and an investigator have also been found involved in the case and will be tried separately later.