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Women get death, jail terms in ‘corpse-in-concrete’ case in southern Vietnam

Friday, July 03, 2020, 19:02 GMT+7
Women get death, jail terms in ‘corpse-in-concrete’ case in southern Vietnam
Pham Thi Thien Ha is escorted to the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, July 3, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

A woman has been sentenced to death while three others jailed for 13 to 22 years for murdering two men and hiding their bodies in concrete at a house in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong last year.

Their sentences were announced on Friday morning at the Binh Duong People’s Court.

Pham Thi Thien Ha, 32, a resident in Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, was given the death penalty for murder.

Ha’s mother, 67-year-old Trinh Thi Hong Hoa, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for murder and failure to report a crime.

Nguyen Ngoc Tam Huyen, 40, received a 19-year jail term for murder and failure to report a crime.

Le Ngoc Phuong Thao, 30, was jailed for 22 years for murder and crime concealment.

Trinh Thi Hong Hoa is escorted to the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, July 3, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

Trinh Thi Hong Hoa is escorted to the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, July 3, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

The defendants were also required to pay VND440 million (US$18,890) as compensation to the families of the two deceased victims – 28-year-old Tran Tri Thanh and 52-year-old Tran Duc Linh.

They will also have to provide monthly financial support for Linh’s elderly mother.

According to the indictment, Ha recruited Hoa, Huyen, Thao, Thanh, Linh, and two other women to join a cult in July 2018.

They rented a house in Binh Duong Province to conduct their practices.

Two women later left the group due to its strict rules, forcing the rest to rent another place to keep their activities a secret.

They moved to another house in Bau Bang District, also in Binh Duong, in October 2018.

Le Ngoc Phuong Thao is pictured at the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, July 3, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

Le Ngoc Phuong Thao is pictured at the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, July 3, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

Later the same year, Linh was unable to handle the harsh living condition and attempted to escape by jumping off the first floor of the house.

Linh was captured and beaten by Ha and Thanh, before passing away a few hours later.

All members joined hands to dispose of Linh’s body by putting the corpse inside a barrel and filling it with concrete.

After a while, Ha discovered that Thanh often sneaked out at night and disobeyed the cult's regulations.

She told Hoa, Huyen, and Thao about her intention to murder the man, which they did.

Nguyen Ngoc Tam Huyen is pictured at the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, June 26, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Ngoc Tam Huyen is pictured at the People’s Court in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, June 26, 2020. Photo: Ba Son / Tuoi Tre

After killing Thanh, the women disposed of his body the same way they did with Linh’s.

In April 2019, they returned the house to the owner, who then sold it in May the same year.

The new owner discovered the concrete-filled barrel on May 15 and found Thanh’s body as he was breaking up the concrete.

Police officers then searched the house and found Linh’s body the following day.

The women were apprehended on May 17, 2019 when they were staying at a hotel in Thu Dau Mot City, Binh Duong, about 50 kilometers from the crime scene.

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