Three jailed for smuggling 21 Chinese into HCMC amid Covid-19 campaign

By Duong Trang   December 1, 2020 | 03:20 am PT
Three jailed for smuggling 21 Chinese into HCMC amid Covid-19 campaign
Tran Chi Hao, Nguyen Thanh Trung and Nguyen Quang Thang stand before the HCMC People's Court on December 1, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Trang.
Three men in HCMC were jailed Tuesday for smuggling 21 Chinese into the city during Vietnam’s campaign to halt the spread of Covid-19 earlier this year.

HCMC People's Court sentenced Tran Chi Hao, 34, to four and a half years in jail, while Nguyen Thanh Trung, 34, and Nguyen Quang Thang, 29, were sentenced to seven years for brokering illegal entry to Vietnam.

From June to July, a group of Chinese asked Hao to help rent houses in HCMC. Hao helped four of them find accomodation in the city's Binh Tan District. Trung and Thang, cooperating with Hao, assisted 17 other Chinese to find accommodation in the area. Fully aware the 21 had entered Vietnam illegally, the trio offered to help the group with translations and other services for a fee of VND22.5 million ($971.18).

When the second coronavirus outbreak hit Vietnam’s central Da Nang City in late July, the Chinese had requested Hao to help them leave, but were caught on the street by police.

Following further investigations, Hao, Trung and Thang were arrested on September 17.

Vietnam has recorded 1,347 Covid-19 cases so far. A total 35 have died from the disease, many being elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.

A 32-year-old English teacher in HCMC broke Vietnam's 88-day streak of no community transmission on Monday, having contracted the virus from one of his friends, a flight attendant previously infected with Covid-19.

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