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South Koreans jailed for illegally detaining fellow countryman in Vietnam

Friday, June 19, 2015, 11:41 GMT+7
South Koreans jailed for illegally detaining fellow countryman in Vietnam
A prisoner is seen in his cell in this photo illustration.

A Vietnam court has handed down sentences of up to one year in prison to two South Korean men who kidnapped and beat a fellow countryman over a business conflict last year.

>> Korean man wanted for torturing another over debt Shim Sung-bo, 47, was sentenced to one year in jail and Nam Kuong-soon, 39, received a jail term of three months and sixteen days at their hearing opened by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Wednesday. The two defendants were convicted of “illegally detaining others” pursuant to Article 123 of the Vietnamese Penal Code.  As Nam had been detained for a period equal to his prison term, he was released after the trial. According to the indictment, on November 14, 2013, Shim bought the Ngoi Sao Giai Tri Restaurant, at 2 Chu Manh Trinh Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, owned by Kim Heung-sik, another South Korean man, for US$150,000. Kim received the money and carried out procedures to re-register the restaurant’s business license under Shim’s name, but he failed to replace his name with Shim’s in the house leasing contract under which the eatery operated at the above address. In early March 2014, Kim and Shim met several times to discuss changing the name of the lessee in the house lease, and Kim promised to do it. As Kim did not deliver on his promise, Bong Byung-gon, another South Korean national, who provided cash for Shim to buy the restaurant, asked Shim to claim compensation of $228,500 from Kim, but Kim rejected the claim. On March 26, at the request of Bong, Shim and another South Korean person, Jang Hak-bong, together with a Vietnamese man rushed into Kim’s apartment in the Van Don Apartment Building in District 4. Jang and the Vietnamese person beat Kim and asked him to pay the said compensation. The group of attackers seized Kim’s mobile phone and took him to the restaurant, where they continued to assault him. On March 27, Kim agreed to write down a promissory note worth $288,500, and the group returned his cell phone but warned him not to call anyone. Later the same day, as Kim asked to return home, Shim requested Nam to take Kim back to his house and keep him there. Kim then managed to send a text message to his girlfriend asking her to report the case to police for help. Police later arrested Shim and Nam and searched for the other members of their group. At yesterday’s hearing, both Shim and Nam admitted to their offenses as stated in the indictment, but said they only took action under the direction of Bong, who is still at large.

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