The People’s Court of Hai Phong City in northern Vietnam has handed down a life sentence to a 24-year-old man for robbing a bank branch of VND3 billion (US$128,000) at gunpoint in January.
The Hai Phong People’s Court on Wednesday held a trial for Nguyen Van Nam, 24, and Tran Thi Thu Thuy, 22, both from Hai Phong.
Nam was convicted of property robbery as well as the illegal possession and use of military weapons, while his girlfriend, Thuy, was found guilty of harboring and consuming property acquired through the commission of crime by other people.
According to the indictment, Nam bought a revolve, a homemade pen gun, and 47 bullets in December 2021 with the intention of using them to rob a bank.
On January 7, the defendant entered the Dinh Vu branch of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) in Hai Phong’s Hai An District and threatened the guard and other staff with a handgun.
He then escaped the bank with VND3 billion on a motorbike stolen from a security guard.
When Nam returned home, he gave more than VND1.3 billion ($55,500) to Thuy, then buried VND400 million ($17,080) under a peach tree in his backyard, and stashed VND100 million ($4,270) in his brother's bedroom.
He placed the remaining money, weapons, and ammunition in another backpack and headed to a boarding house in Khai Quang Ward, Vinh Yen City, Vinh Phuc Province, about 190km from Hai Phong.
On January 8, Nam purchased an iPhone in Vinh Yen City, then traveled to Hanoi to buy a Kawasaki motorcycle worth VND680 million ($29,000), which he drove to Pho Yen Town in Thai Nguyen Province, roughly 64km apart, where he leased a place to hide until he was eventually caught by police.
Thuy went shopping for laptops, cellphones, and jewelry with the money Nam had given her.
Thuy admitted to knowing that the suspect in the heist was Nam, and that the money he gave her was the result of a robbery, but she still used it to buy rings and cosmetics, and to transfer to a personal account.
In addition, she transfered VND1.2 billion ($51,238) to an acquaintance to hide the money.
She was sentenced to ten years in prison.