A heroin smuggler opened fire at police officers shortly before he was arrested last week during a raid in Vietnam’s northern mountainous province of Lai Chau, VietnamPlus reported Tuesday.
Hang A Lau, 52, and his accomplice, Sung Thi Di, both from the nearby province of Son La, were arrested last week for smuggling more than 13 kilograms of heroin (29 lb) in Lai Chau’s Tan Uyen District. Di's age was not provided.
Local police had suspected Lau was part of a drug smuggling ring for some time. On February 24, he and Di were stopped by Tan Uyen police while they were carrying the drugs on a motorcycle. Lau shot at police with a gun but the two smugglers failed to make their escape.
No police officers were injured but one of two local officials who jumped in to help police overpower the men was shot.
The smugglers said they were hired to carry the drugs by a Laotian national.
Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin, or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, face the death penalty.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin, or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.
Although the laws are strictly enforced with capital punishment handed down regularly, drug running continues in border areas.