Vietnamese-Canadian deals drugs to pay gambling debts

By Quoc Thang   May 11, 2023 | 03:12 pm PT
Vietnamese-Canadian deals drugs to pay gambling debts
Packets of drugs seized by the police in HCMC from a ring trafficking them from Cambodia. Photo courtesy of the police
A Vietnamese-Canadian has been arrested in Ho Chi Minh City for trafficking hundreds of kilograms of drugs following gambling losses in Cambodia.

Municipal police said on Thursday they had arrested Chu Ba Chung, 39, for trafficking hundreds of kilograms of drugs from Cambodia to Vietnam.

Five other people, including 26-year-old Truong Ngoc Mai and 28-year-old Nguyen Vu Khai Hoang, were also arrested as part of Chung's drug trafficking network.

Police said it took months of investigation and hundreds of officers to take down the ring.

In September 2022, police caught Mai in District 5 while he was delivering drugs on Do Ngoc Thanh Street. Some 12 kg of meth were seized during the incident, and another 63.5 kg of other drugs were found during a raid on Mai’s home in District 4.

Raids of several other houses in the city then resulted in multiple arrests. A total of 85 kg of drugs were seized following the raids.

Chung tried to hide in Nha Trang in central Vietnam, but was eventually apprehended by authorities.

The suspect said the story began when he suffered major gambling losses in Cambodia in 2019.

He could not pay for his losses and thus incurred debts to a man whose identity has not been verified.

To pay off the debts, Chung then turned to trafficking drugs to customers in Ho Chi Minh City, earning $100-200 per delivery, according to investigators.

Beginning in 2020, Chung would receive 5-30 kg of drugs from a man in Cambodia for each run he made to deliver the contraband to specific locations in Ho Chi Minh City.

To expand operations, Chung hired Mai to traffic the drugs as well.

Hoang then also became involved due to debts.

He said he had borrowed VND400 million ($17,045) from a man named Thach, whose identity has not been verified, in March last year. Unable to pay back the debts at high interest, Hoang agreed to travel to localities near the border to receive drugs, before taking them to Ho Chi Minh City for Chung and Mai. Hoang was paid VND100-200 million for each delivery, police said.

Further investigations into the case are ongoing.

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