Prosecutors recommend death for Korean drug dealing cop

By Hai Duyen   November 9, 2023 | 06:01 am PT
Prosecutors recommend death for Korean drug dealing cop
Li Tian Guan, Kim Soon Sik and other accomplices at the HCMC People's Court. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen
A former South Korean police officer and 17 others in Ho Chi Minh City could receive death sentences for trafficking over 168 kg of drugs.

Kim Soon Sik, 63, along with compatriot Kang Seon Hak, 30, Chinese national Li Tian Guan, 58, Vietnamese citizen Le Ho Vu, 36, and 18 others, including one aged under 18, were tried before the Family and Juvenile Court under the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court this Wednesday and Thursday for the illegal transport, storage, trade and procuring of the drugs, as well as fabricating official seals and documents.

Prosecutors said Vu was considered the group’s mastermind and used multiple fake IDs to hide his identity. Vu said all the drugs were obtained from a man in Cambodia named Be, who employed numerous accomplices in a larger drug ring.

Sik and Hak assisted Guan in the transportation of around 40 kg of drugs.

Prosecutors recommended the death sentence for Vu, Sik, Hak, Guan and 14 others. Three were recommended life sentences, while one underage defendant was recommended between 17-18 years in jail.

Sik, a former South Korean police officer, was expelled from the force due to violations. From 2000 to 2016, he was jailed six times for violations regarding immigration and emigration.

After serving his sentence, Sik came to Vietnam in 2019 to rent an apartment on Song Hanh Street in Thu Duc City, looking for business opportunities. He and his lover, 40-year-old Huynh Thi Hoa Tran, eventually ended up running an industrial machine import-export company, which also exported granite to South Korea.

In early 2020, Sik met Guan during a meal at a Korean restaurant. In June 2020, he accepted Guan's offer to transport drugs for ₩5 million ($3,808) per kilogram, and he also invited his former cellmate Hak to join.

From July 3 to July 12, 2020, Sik and Hak received drugs for Vu three times, totaling to 39.5 kg. The drugs were taken back to Sik’s apartment, then brought to his lover’s house so they could be hidden between slabs of granite, according to investigators.

On July 18, 2020, Sik told his lover to hire a car and brought 10 stacks of granite to Cat Lai Port so they could be exported to South Korea. However, the crew was caught in the act that night by officers from the Ministry of Public Security.

In court, Sik said he was innocent, saying he only delivered goods for Li, not knowing that there were drugs inside. Li also said he was innocent, and that he was framed by Vu and his accomplices, not knowing the goods he received contained drugs.

Vu said he had given Li a total of 39.5 kg of drugs at Be’s instruction.

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