South Vietnam officials jailed for smuggling money across border

Two officials in the southern Binh Duong Province have been sentenced to prison while another received a suspended sentence for illegally transferring money through the Vietnam – Cambodia border.

Thu Dau Mot Town’s Tax Department officials Phung Hoang Bach, 49, and Bui Gia Hung, 38, were sentenced to four years and two years jail respectively.

Tran The Hung, 31, a manager of Binh Duong Province’s Water Supply and Drainage Company affiliate got a six-month suspended sentence, a court in the neighboring province of Tay Ninh ruled recently.

The indictment pronounced the three officials had been caught smuggling more than US$88,000 and VND15 million ($928) across the Moc Bai border control area in a car on March 21.

During questioning, the three officials admitted the cash was obtained from winnings at the New World Casino in Cambodia.

The officials also said this was the third time they had gambled at the casino.

The smuggled money has been confiscated, authorities said.

Tay Ninh police additionally fined Le Hong Anh, the driver of the vehicle carrying the officials, VND2 million ($123).

Vietnam gang ‘smuggled 30 babies’

A baby-trafficking ring in Vietnam sold as many as 30 infants in just six months, smuggling them over the border into China, investigators have found.

Police in Hanoi arrested four suspects in February while they were trying to take two babies out of the country.

Since then, the authorities have detained seven more and the hunt for others connected to the gang continues.

Among those detained was an eight-month pregnant woman who had agreed to sell her unborn baby.

Detectives in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi said in a six-month period from July 2007 to February 2008, the ring had smuggled up to 30 babies, mostly newborn, to China.

But the total of smuggled children might be much higher as the gang had been active before that, officials said.

The district police said the scale of the ring’s activities was so large that they had to transfer the case to central police to follow up.

It is believed that the smugglers had been scouring for babies and pregnant women from poor families in rural areas across the country.

They paid between 7m dong ($440; £220) and 20m dong for each baby – boys usually costing more than girls.

The babies were then transferred to Quang Ninh province on China border and offered for adoption.