HCMC court upholds death sentence for Malaysian drug mule

By Hoang Phong   October 28, 2020 | 01:41 am PT
HCMC court upholds death sentence for Malaysian drug mule
Charina Binti Mohd Zaini stands trial at a court in HCMC for drug smuggling, June 2020. Photo by Phap Luat TPHCM Newspaper.
An appeals court in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday upheld the death sentence handed down to a Malaysian woman for illegally transporting over four kg of cocaine.

Charina Binti Mohd Zaini, 30, was sentenced to death last June for illegally transporting 4.1 kg of cocaine from Brazil to Vietnam, though she had appealed against the verdict.

Judges on Wednesday refused to commute her sentence, saying her actions were harmful to society and that she did not provide any details allowing for leniency, Phap Luat TPHCM newspaper reported.

According to the indictment, she traveled to Laos and got acquaintained with a man identified as Prakas Ashwin, whose nationality has not been disclosed.

In November 2018, when Zaini visited Hong Kong, Ashwin introduced her to an unidentified man who later hired her to collect 'documents' from Brazil for $1,200.

Before she arrived in Brazil, Ashwin gave her $1,000 for travel expenses.

On November 13, 2018 she flew from Hong Kong to HCMC. Two days later, she flew from HCMC to Brazil where she was given two suitcases and asked to deliver them to HCMC.

Zaini was arrested on November 26 on landing in HCMC on a flight from Brazil. Customs officials at Tan Son Nhat International Airport found 4.1 kg of cocaine hidden in the two suitcases.

This was not the first time a foreign citizen was sentenced to death in Vietnam for drug smuggling.

Last August, a HCMC court sentenced a Malaysian woman to death for transporting 3.3 kg of cocaine from Brazil to Vietnam.

Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 g of heroin or over 2.5 kg of methamphetamine face death.

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