Vietnamese Australian jailed for 12 years on terrorism charges

By Hai Duyen    November 11, 2019 | 03:10 am PT
Vietnamese Australian jailed for 12 years on terrorism charges
Vietnamese Australian man Chau Van Kham stands at a trial court in Ho Chi Minh City on November 11, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen.
A Vietnamese Australian man and five accomplices were sentenced to various prison terms Monday for planning to overthrow the Vietnamese government.

A Ho Chi Minh City court sentenced Chau Van Kham, 70, to 12 years in jail on the charge of "terrorism to oppose the people's administration." He will be deported as soon as he finishes his jail term.

His accomplices Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen were jailed for 11 and 10 years respectively for the same offence. Three others were found guilty of "forging seals and/or documents of agencies and/or organizations" and received sentences ranging from three to four years in jail.

According to the indictment, Kham settled down in Australia and joined Viet Tan, an organization Vietnam has classified as a terrorist group, in 2010. He held senior positions in the organization led by U.S.-based Do Hoang Diem. The organization works to eliminate the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and to overthrow the Vietnamese government.

Kham was assigned by Diem to recruit and train new members, enter Vietnam to provide financial support for the operation of Viet Tan and provoke demonstrations, the court heard.

At the end of 2018, Kham moved from Australia to Cambodia and used fake documents to enter Vietnam.

He rented a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to live there and propagate principles of the organization for new members. Among the people he recruited were Vien, a GrabBike driver, and Quyen, a camera repairer.

Vien and Quyen were taken to Cambodia to attend a training class conducted by Diem and the Viet Tan organization. They received $600-900 from the group, the indictment said.

They hired some people to make fake documents and papers for some members of the organization to apply for local jobs, and were caught by police in the process.

Kham was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City in January this year.

Investigators under the Ministry of Public Security are expanding the investigation against Diem and other accomplices who are living in the U.S.

Under the Vietnamese law, the maximum penalty for conducting activities to overthrow the government is death.

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