Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội City People’s Procuracy will prosecute two Japanese nationals for allegedly smuggling seven golden statues through Nội Bài International Airport last August.
The defendants are Masakazu Iwamura (born in 1971) and Takayoshi Kitada (born in 1983). Both were charged with "smuggling", according to Vietnam News Agency.
According to the indictment, Masakazu Iwamura was the former director of Japan’s RG Innovation Company which hired Vietnamese labourers to work abroad in Japan.
After several working visits to Việt Nam, Iwamura decided to buy Vietnamese gold products to sell in Japan as their price is much cheaper than those sold in his home country.
Early last July, Iwamura and Kitada went to Sinh Diễn Jewellery Company in Bắc Ninh city to check samples and the price of handicraft gold products.
They ordered seven golden statues from Sinh Diễn company with a total weight of about 6.9kg including four Maitreya Buddha statues and three sets of Tam Đa statues, at a cost of 31.5 million Japanese yen (US$280,780). They agreed to collect the products on August, 2, 2016.
Kitada received 32.3 million Japanese yen ($287,700) from Iwamura and went to Việt Nam to smuggle the statues out of the country. If the trade was successful, Takayoshi Kitada was promised 80,000 Japanese yen ($713).
To avoid Việt Nam’s customs, Iwamura told Kitada to have seven gold statues painted silver.
On August 3, officials of Nội Bài International Airport discovered the seven statues in Kitada’s luggage that he had not declared to customs and seized them as evidence.
A test conducted later found that the statues were 99.99 per cent gold and worth about VNĐ6.7 billion ($297,800).
The owner of Sinh Diễn Jewellery Company said he bought the gold to make the statues from DOJI Jewelry Company. He claimed to be unaware of what the Japanese customers intended to do with the statues.
The People’s Procuracy does not plan to prosecute the owner of Sinh Diễn company. — VNS