Five men from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have been sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison for helping nine people to illegally enter Vietnam from Cambodia, of whom four were later confirmed as COVID-19 patients.
The People’s Court in An Giang Province on Monday conducted the trial of Phan Phi Hung, 42, Pham Thanh Hap, 26, Truong Chi Tai, 30, Trang Van Ut, 32, and Le Van Dinh, 31, who were all charged for organizing others' unlawful entry into Vietnam.
Hung was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Hap, Tai, and Ut each received a five-year jail term.
Dinh was condemned to two years behind bars.
According to the indictment, several suspects in Cambodia contacted Hung on December 23, 2020 and told him that a group of nine people would migrate from Cambodia to Vietnam on the following day.
Hung then informed Hap, Tai, Ut, and Dinh about the plan.
Ut was in charge of renting a seven-seater automobile, while Hap, Tai, and Dinh transported the border jumpers on the vehicle.
After arriving at Hap’s house, six of the nine border jumpers were brought to the Mekong Delta province of Long An and Ho Chi Minh City on the same vehicle.
Hung’s group then helped the other three illegal migrants travel to the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau and Ho Chi Minh City.
Hung was paid VND6.5 million (US$282) on December 25.
He took VND1 million ($43) and gave Tai, Dinh, and Hap VND500,000 ($21) each, while Ut received VND4 million ($174).
The illegal entry was eventually discovered by local authorities as four of the nine border jumpers tested positive for the novel coronavirus and were confirmed as COVID-19 patients.
Hung, Hap, Tai, Ut, and Dinh were arrested on January 1.