HA NOI – Ha Noi People's Court sentenced two Chinese defendants to a combined 35 years in prison on the fraud charges at a trial on Wednesday.
Zhong Tielin, 41, received an 18 year sentence while his accomplice Yang Faqing, 40, got 17 years 6 months.
The indictment said Zhong, Yang and another Chinese man named A Ling had come to Viet Nam with the intent of committing fraud.
On October 17, 2011 they contacted 35 year old Do Thai Han, head of a law firm in the capital via the internet.
Zhong told Han he had acquired antique Mitreya Budda statues and gold ingots while working on a construction site in Viet Nam and wanted to sell them quickly at a cheap price.
Yang gave a small piece of one of the ingots to Han for testing. The sample given to Han, however, had not been taken from the gold ingots he'd been shown. Han then agreed to buy three Mitreya Buddha statues and 38 gold ingots for $125,000.
However, the transaction was never completed after Han became suspicious and reported the case to authorities. Zhong and Yang were arrested while trying to sell Han the fake antiques.
The statues and ingots were later found to be made of bronze, zinc and aluminium.
After an extensive investigation, police also found the team had tricked Vi To Nam in the central city of Da Nang with the same scam, stealing $100,000 from the victim.
Nam could not resist the price the pair were offering for what he thought was real gold.
However, the two defendants denied any knowledge of Nam, but the prosecutors produced a series of the testimonies they had given after they were arrested in February in which they admitted their reasons for coming to Vietnam.– VNS