A man convicted of robbing a bank in Hanoi with a gun in late April has been sentenced to 23 years behind bars.
The Hanoi People’s Court on Wednesday condemned Tran Huu Trung, a 29-year-old from the northern province of Quang Ninh, to 18 years in jail for robbery and an additional five years for illegally storing and using military weapons.
Giap Ngoc Ninh, 27, and Chu Duc Chinh, 17, were jailed for 24 months and nine months, respectively, for concealing the crime.
According to the indictment, Trung was given a 30-month suspended sentence for assault in Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province in 2009.
In 2016, he committed the same offense and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
However, he managed to escape and was wanted by Uong Bi police officers.
While hiding, Trung borrowed VND545 million (US$23,500) from N.A.T. in Quang Ninh Province and VND270 million ($11,600) from H.Q.T. in northern Bac Ninh Province for personal use.
The man then planned the bank robbery to pay up his debts.
At 1:21 pm on April 20, Trung carried a K59 pistol and rode a motorbike from Bac Ninh Province to Soc Son District in Hanoi, where he robbed a branch of local lender Techcombank.
Prior to the heist, Trung changed a different license plate for his motorcycle to avoid being tracked by police.
At 3:10 pm the same day, Trung put on a cap, a face mask, a jacket, sunglasses, and gloves before heading to a counter inside the bank.
He pretended to talk to an attendant before leaving the place.
About five minutes later, he walked back into the venue and pulled out his gun to threaten two bank tellers, forcing them to give him cash.
Trung fired a warning shot to the floor, when one of the employees sounded the alarm.
The robber ran outside to his motorbike before firing another shot into the bank to deter anyone wanting to chase after him.
He arrived in Hoa Phu Industrial Park in Bac Giang Province, about 25 kilometers from Soc Son District, where he called Ninh and Chinh and told them about the robbery.
Trung changed the license plate once again and threw away his clothing.
Chinh took Trung’s motorbike to his home, while Ninh carried him to Viet Yen District in Bac Giang.
Trung then threw his pistol into Dai Lai Lake in northern Vinh Phuc Province and headed to northern Hai Phong City.
He then returned to his hometown – Quang Ninh Province, and turned himself in to police on April 26.
The jury stated that Trung’s actions were highly dangerous and a stern punishment had to be imposed.