18 sentenced to death, including ex-Korean cop, for drug smuggling.

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    Nov 13, 2023

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Ex-South Korean cop and 17 others in Ho Chi Minh City receive death penalty for trafficking 216+ kg drugs.


After a four-day trial, Kim Soon Sik, a former South Korean cop aged 63, Kang Seon Hok, a 30-year-old South Korean citizen, and Li Tian Guan, a 58-year-old Chinese man, were sentenced to death by the Family and Juvenile Court under the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court. The charges against them were related to drug trafficking.

Le Hong Vu, a 30-year-old Vietnamese individual, has been sentenced to death for committing two heinous crimes - drug trafficking and the production of counterfeit official seals and documents.

Fourteen individuals have been condemned to the punishment of death following their involvement in the illicit transportation, storage, trade, and acquisition of drugs.

Three individuals were handed life sentences, while Le Thanh Nghia, who was under 18 years old when the offense occurred, received a prison term of 15 years.

Among all drug cases in HCMC, this particular case holds the record for the highest number of death sentences.

Vu was the orchestrator behind the transportation of more than 168 kg of drugs, employing various counterfeit identification documents to conceal his true identity.

According to him, the drugs were sourced from a Cambodian individual named Be, who operated as part of an extensive network of accomplices within a drug trafficking organization.

Sik, a former member of the South Korean police force, was dismissed from his position due to multiple violations. Between 2000 and 2016, he faced imprisonment on six different occasions for breaching laws related to immigration and emigration.

In search of business prospects, Sik arrived in Vietnam in 2019 following the completion of his sentences. He decided to rent an apartment on Song Hanh Street in Thu Duc City.

Together, they ventured into the realms of entrepreneurship, establishing a successful industrial machine import-export enterprise alongside his beloved Vietnamese partner, Huynh Thi Hoa Tran. Their flourishing business not only specialized in the import and export of advanced machinery but also gained recognition for supplying high-quality granite to South Korea.

During a meal at a Korean restaurant in early 2020, Sik encountered Guan. Later in June of the same year, Sik agreed to Guan's proposal of drug transportation, at a rate of ₩5 million ($3,808) per kilogram. Furthermore, Sik extended an invitation to his former cellmate Hak to join this venture.

According to investigators, between July 3 and July 12, 2020, Sik and Hak were involved in three separate transactions where they obtained drugs for Vu. The total amount of drugs acquired during this period amounted to 39.5 kg. Following the acquisition, the drugs were transported to Sik's apartment before being discreetly concealed between slabs of granite at his lover's residence.

On the evening of July 18, 2020, Sik instructed his partner to arrange for a rental car and transport 10 stacks of granite to Cat Lai Port for exporting purposes to South Korea. Unfortunately, during their attempt, the authorities from the Ministry of Public Security apprehended the crew in the act.

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