Three people have been sentenced to 4.5 to seven years in prison for organizing accommodation for Chinese residents to illegally stay in Vietnam.
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Tuesday conducted the trial of Nguyen Thanh Trung, 34, Nguyen Quang Thang, 29, and Tran Chi Hao, 34, who all reside in the southern metropolis.
Thang and Trung were each given a seven year jail term, while Hao was put behind bars for four and a half years for organizing the illegal stay of foreigners in Vietnam.
According to the indictment, an unidentified Chinese man contacted Hao on June 14 and asked him to rent a house in Ho Chi Minh City for a group of four Chinese nationals.
Hao then told his friends – Trung and Thang – to help him.
After finding a suitable house in Tan Tao Ward, Tan Binh District, Thang signed a lease contract with the owner.
The three men were also in charge of translating, buying food, supplies, and laptops, and exchanging money for the Chinese.
They were fully aware that the foreigners had entered Vietnam illicitly, while the COVID-19 epidemic was also serious in the central city of Da Nang at the time.
As the number of illegal Chinese rose from four to 13 in early July, Hao, Thang, and Trung were asked to rent another house in the southern metropolis.
Between July 18 and 29, eight other Chinese joined the group, raising the total number of foreigners staying at the two rented houses to 21.
After the wrongdoing was discovered by police later the same month, the three planned an escape for the illegal Chinese migrants.
However, their escape attempt was busted by law enforcement officers at around 0:30 on July 30.
Several of them were apprehended, while the others managed to run away.
Hao, Thang, and Trung were arrested later that day.
An investigation revealed that Thang, Trung, and Hoa were paid VND11 million (US$47), VND8.5 million ($370), and VND3 million ($130), respectively, for their roles.
The jury asserted that the actions were very serious and threatened to undermine the country’s COVID-19 prevention and control efforts, thus stern punishments had to be imposed.