9 Vietnamese on NA chairwoman's flight to South Korea 'disappear'

By Hoang Thuy   September 25, 2019 | 06:43 pm GMT+7
9 Vietnamese on NA chairwoman's flight to South Korea 'disappear'
Vietnam National Assembly chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (L) is received at the Gimha International Airport for a visit to South Korea, December 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of Vietnam News Agency.
Nine Vietnamese illegally stayed on in South Korea after hitchhiking there on a private jet with the National Assembly (NA) chairwoman last year.

This information was confirmed Wednesday by Head of the NA Office Nguyen Hanh Phuc.

The incident happened when the assembly's Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended an economic forum in South Korea last December.

Phuc’s statement followed recent South Korean media reports saying nine people, who were part of a group that attended the Vietnam-South Korea Investment and Trade Forum that month, had stayed on illegally in the country.

The forum was organized by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the South Korean Embassy in Vietnam and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Phuc said.

The group’s formation, choices of businesses and accommodation, among others, were the responsibility of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, he added.

"As part of an official visit to South Korea, the NA chairwoman was invited to make a speech (at the forum)," said Phuc, adding that the planning ministry had requested that a business group be taken on the private jet along with Ngan.

"Those people only hitchhiked a ride to and from South Korea. They [the nine who stayed in South Korea illegally] were not part of the Vietnamese National Assembly’s diplomatic group and were not granted diplomatic visas," Phuc noted.

When it was time to return to Vietnam, the nine people were found to be missing, but the plane couldn’t wait, Phuc said. Their identities have not been revealed.

"Two people have since been deported to Vietnam, while seven others are still in South Korea."

Vietnamese police and South Korean authorities are trying to find and deport the remaining seven and would deal with them in accordance to the law, said Phuc, adding that the incident was "regrettable."

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