Vietnamese-Australian drug kingpin nabbed near Saigon

By Quoc Thang   June 20, 2019 | 01:55 am PT
Vietnamese-Australian drug kingpin nabbed near Saigon
Vuong Quoc Thai is arrested with drugs he smuggled from Cambodia to Tay Ninh Province, June 20, 2019. Photo by VnExpress.
A Vietnamese-Australian man and two members of his drug ring were arrested Thursday at a transaction point near Saigon.

Ho Chi Minh City police say 60-year-old Vuong Quoc Thai is the leader of a drug dealing gang that purchases drugs in Cambodia and distributes them in Vietnam.

On Thursday, Thai and two members of his syndicate were meeting at a spot in Tay Ninh Province, two hours drive from HCMC, for him to hand over the drugs he had smuggled from Cambodia. All three were detained by police who were lying in wait.

Thai's henchmen, two men in their forties, had planned to sell the drugs in HCMC and other provinces and cities.

The police seized four kilograms of meth and 1,000 ecstasy pills when they made the arrests. They also conducted a house search of the three men and seized an additional five kilograms of meth, 2,000 ecstasy pills and tens of thousands of dollars.

Thai came to Vietnam and lived in Tay Ninh after divorcing his wife in Australia. He owned several villas and had lived an opulent life with a younger girlfriend whom he took with him on frequent trips to Cambodian casinos, where he got to know drug dealers and struck a deal to smuggle them into Vietnam.

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

The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

The country is also a key trafficking hub for narcotics from the Golden Triangle, an intersection of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, the world's second largest drug producing area after the Golden Crescent in South Asia.

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