HCMC court orders fresh probe into 580-kg drug trafficking by Chinese men

By Huong Thao   April 27, 2022 | 09:21 pm PT
HCMC court orders fresh probe into 580-kg drug trafficking by Chinese men
Wu He Shan, Huang Zai Wen, Thao No Pao, Ly A Vu and Thao A Do are at the HCMC People's Court for drug trafficking charges, April 27, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Huong Thao
The trial of two Chinese came before a HCMC court Wednesday for allegedly smuggling 580 kg of drugs to the Philippines in 2019, but it ordered a further investigation.

Wu He Shan, 59, and Huang Zai Wen, 55, were charged with "illegal transport of narcotic substances."

Three others, Vietnamese nationals Thao No Pao, 48, Ly A Vu, 35, and Thao A Do, 40, also face similar charges, according to the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court.

In 2012 Wu formed the He Shan company to purportedly sell toys and clothes. In 2018 he was introduced to Huang by a Chinese man named A Hung, and told him to come to HCMC to work.

At the end of 2018 Hung asked Wu to buy 20 tons of plastic beads and export them to the Philippines. In February 2019 Hung allegedly told Wu to buy 2.4 tons of plastic beads to camouflage 12 bags of drugs to be shipped to the Philippines along with the beads.

On March 22, 2019, Philippine authorities seized the bags at Manila Port and found over 276 kg of drugs shipped as tea.

Two days before that the HCMC police had arrested Pao, Vu and Do after catching them red-handed transporting around 300 kg of drugs to Binh Tan District.

Wu told the court he was innocent and did not know that the Philippine consignment contained drugs until the police arrested Huang and other accomplices.

Vietnamese and Philippine authorities collaborated for the investigation.

But prosecutors said there was enough evidence to conclude that Wu, Huang and their accomplices sought to smuggle around 580 kg of drugs and sought death sentences for all except Vu and Do, for whom they recommended life terms.

Both Wu and Huang said giving them death sentences would be "unfair" since they did not know that the bags contained drugs.

Huang claimed he was merely hired to transport and load stuff and never heard anything about drugs.

Wu's lawyer said the prosecutors' charge that Wu was responsible for the 300 kg of drugs transported by Pao is "baseless".

The others admitted to their wrongdoing, but claimed they only knew they were transporting "forbidden goods" and not drugs.

The court said the case is "complicated" and ordered further investigation to clarify all developments and roles of people involved.

Investigators have not managed to track down Hung.

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