Vietnamese woman arrested in France for drug trafficking claims identity theft

By Hanh Pham, Anh Ngoc   January 23, 2019 | 03:08 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese woman arrested in France for drug trafficking claims identity theft
A French policeman guards the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo by AFP/File

A Vietnamese woman arrested last month at a French airport for drug trafficking claims she’s a victim of identity theft.

Pham Thi Tuyet Mai, 34, said she was apprehended by French border police on December 18 last year at the Charles de Gaulle airport when she and her boyfriend were traveling from Vietnam to Malta to visit his family.

Her arrest, as per the European Arrest Warrant, was ordered by a judicial court in Antwerpen, Belgium back in 2013, in which it sought to execute a four-year sentence for drug trafficking between October 1, 2010 and May 10, 2011, according to a press release by the Vietnamese foreign ministry.

Mai was allowed bail by a Parisian court of appeal a day after her arrest, but was ordered to hand over all identification documents and not allowed to leave the country.

A second trial is expected to begin early February. Mai is now residing in a hotel in Paris with her boyfriend, awaiting the next trial.

Identity theft suspected

Mai has denied all charges against her and said she had sufficient evidence to prove her innocence.

Pham Thi Tuyet Mai is seen in a photo she supplied to VnExpress.

Pham Thi Tuyet Mai is seen in a photo she supplied to VnExpress.

"The Belgian case happened between October 2010 and May 2011, so it was impossible for me to be the criminal as I didn’t have the visa required to travel from Vietnam to Europe at the time," she said. Her passport shows no arrival to or departure from Europe in the time period, she added.

Mai said she studied and worked in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, before returning to Vietnam in March 2010. She only returned to Europe once in November 2011 for work. She also has documents to prove that she was working for a company in Vietnam from May 2010 to May 2012.

Mai suspects that she is a victim of identity theft. She has hired a lawyer in Belgium and a local law office in Paris has been assigned by the Vietnamese embassy in France to help with her case.

She has also chronicled her experiences through a series of posts on her personal Facebook account, starting last Sunday, which has since gone viral on the social network. She added that her money was running out and she didn’t know when her case would be resolved or when she could return to Vietnam.

 
 
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