This Wednesday and Thursday, a group of individuals were brought before the Family and Juvenile Court under the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court for various charges. The accused include Kim Soon Sik, 63, Kang Seon Hak, 30, Li Tian Guan, 58, and Le Ho Vu, 36, alongside 18 other defendants, including one below the age of 18. They face charges related to illegal drug transportation, storage, trading, and procurement, as well as the fabrication of official seals and documents.
According to prosecutors, Vu was deemed the mastermind of the group and employed various false identities to conceal his true persona. Conversely, Vu claimed that all the narcotics were sourced from a Cambodian individual named Be, who managed a vast network of collaborators within a larger drug syndicate.
Sik and Hak provided their support to Guan in the transportation of approximately 40 kg of illicit substances.
Vu, Sik, Hak, Guan, and 14 additional individuals have been advised by prosecutors to receive the death penalty. In addition, three of them have been recommended life imprisonment, while a defendant who is underage has been suggested to serve a jail term ranging from 17 to 18 years.
Sik, a former police officer from South Korea, was dismissed from his position for engaging in violations. Between 2000 and 2016, he faced imprisonment on six occasions due to his involvement in offenses related to immigration and emigration.
In 2019, Sik arrived in Vietnam after completing his sentence and decided to rent an apartment on Song Hanh Street in Thu Duc City. His main objective was to explore potential business prospects in the country. Together with his partner, Huynh Thi Hoa Tran, who is 40 years old, they established an import-export company specializing in industrial machines. Additionally, their company also engaged in exporting granite to South Korea.
During the beginning of 2020, Sik had a chance encounter with Guan while enjoying a meal at a Korean restaurant. As time passed and June rolled around, Sik found himself presented with an intriguing proposition from Guan. The offer entailed transporting drugs for a sum of ₩5 million ($3,808) per kilogram. Sik, considering the opportunity, decided to bring his former cellmate Hak into the fold as well.
According to investigators, between July 3 and July 12, 2020, Sik and Hak received a shipment of drugs for Vu on three separate occasions, amounting to a total weight of 39.5 kg. After obtaining the drugs, they transported them to Sik's residence before eventually concealing them within slabs of granite at his partner's house.
On July 18, 2020, Sik instructed his romantic partner to arrange for a car rental and transport 10 sets of granite to Cat Lai Port with the intention of exporting them to South Korea. Unfortunately, that very evening, the crew was apprehended by officers from the Ministry of Public Security while in the process of carrying out their plan.
During the court proceedings, Sik maintained his innocence by asserting that he was unaware of the narcotics concealed within the items he delivered, clarifying that his role solely consisted of transportation services for Li. Similarly, Li vehemently denied any involvement in illicit activities, contending that he had been set up by Vu and his associates, oblivious to the fact that the goods he received harbored illegal substances.
According to Vu, he claimed to have provided Li with a combined weight of 39.5 kg of drugs, all of which were delivered at the direction of Be.