Man jailed for organizing illegal Vietnam entry, exit

By Nguyen Hai   December 15, 2020 | 04:00 am PT
Man jailed for organizing illegal Vietnam entry, exit
Lau Ba Chu turns to look at his wife and children while hearing his sentence at a trial in Nghe An Province, December 14, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Binh.
A Nghe An man will spend a year in jail for smuggling people between Vietnam and Laos amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

A provincial court has found Lau Ba Chu, 31, a resident of Ky Son District in the central province, guilty of "organizing illegal exits from and entry into Vietnam."

The court ruled Monday that Chu's act endangered society at a time the governments of both countries were fighting the pandemic.

In June, two men asked Chu to take them across the border to enter Laos to find jobs for a payment of VND3.5 million ($150.85) each. Laos had at that time closed its entire border with Vietnam to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chu agreed and took the two men through forests to reach the border area with Laos before handing them over to an unnamed individual to smuggle them into the country.

Failing to find work in Laos, one of the men, Dau Xuan Chung, asked Chu in early August to get them back into Vietnam. Chu agreed to do this for a payment of 1 million Lao kip ($107).

Chu then hired a Lao man to transport Chung to the border area and asked his elder brother to drive a motorbike to the border area in Ky Son District to pick him up.

On August 11, border guards arrested Chung as he tried to enter Vietnam via open paths to escape the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Based on Chung's testimony, police detained Chu two days later.

Chung was then taken to a centralized quarantine facility. Authorities fined him for failing to comply with entry and exit procedures. They had earlier fined Chu's elder brother for assisting the illegal entry.

It is estimated that so far this year, more than 20,000 people have illegally entered the country. Health officials have said that Vietnam faces high risks of community transmission of the novel coronavirus from the illegal entrants.

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