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Vietnam’s bogus ‘gold man’ gets 12 years for harboring drug use at karaoke venue

Thursday, June 18, 2020, 12:59 GMT+7
Vietnam’s bogus ‘gold man’ gets 12 years for harboring drug use at karaoke venue
Tran Ngoc Phuc, a.k.a. Phuc XO, is pictured during his trial at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on June 17, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Phuc XO of social media notoriety for his excessive donning of gold jewelry was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in prison for drug-related crimes in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Wednesday tried Tran Ngoc Phuc, a.k.a. Phuc XO, and 12 of his accessories.

Phuc was sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined VND50 million (US$2,150) for harboring the illegal use of narcotics.

He was also told to hand over the VND600 million ($25,880) authorities say he earned from such illicit activities. 

Seven of his 12 accomplices were handed imprisonment sentences of seven to eight years for similar charges.

Four other defendants were condemned to between nine months and four years behind bars for the illegal storage of drugs.

One defendant was jailed for nine months for failing to report a crime.

According to the indictment, Phuc was the owner of the XO Pharaon karaoke bar in District 12.  

In order to attract more customers, Phuc allowed his customers to use narcotics freely inside his venue and even told his employees to provide the customers with necessary tools for their drug use.

Phuc XO wears gold accessories at an event in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Phuc XO wears gold accessories at an event in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

On the night of April 10, a team of officers raided Phuc’s karaoke parlor and discovered that many customers appeared to be under the influence of drugs. 

On-site testing found that 19 of the customers tested positive for narcotics.

Local authorities searched Phuc’s house and found that his young brother, Tran Ngoc Tai, was in possession of 20 blue tablets and 12 plastic packets of white powder, which were later confirmed as narcotics.

Officers also confiscated five plastic tubes, multiple phones, four swords, tear gas canisters, sports guns and bullets, and bulletproof vests.

Four of Phuc employees were found storing several types of drugs.

Phuc XO’s climb to fame began with videos and photos posted on social media, showing him wearing a large amount of gaudy gold jewelry.

He has also posed with multiple gold-plated high-capacity motorbikes and an automobile covered in gold.

Phuc has since admitted to authorities that the gold was fake and everything was just a gimmick to attract attention and promote his karaoke venue.

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