|Phạm Trung Dũng in court. — Photo tienphong.vn|Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — An appeal court in HCM City on Monday upheld the death sentence of a Vietnamese-born Australian national for trafficking heroin.
Phạm Trung Dũng, 40, was arrested on May 17, 2013, as he and his partner were about to board a flight to Australia, after authorities at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport found two packages containing a white powder hidden in his suitcase.
It was later confirmed that the white powder Dũng was carrying was 3.5kg of heroin.
Dũng, who has lived in Australia since 2000, told the investigative body that while he was visiting his family in HCM City, he met a person named Kiên, who has not yet been identified. Dũng said that at Kiên’s request he agreed to carry two suitcases to Australia and hand them over to a man named Lợi for AUD$40,000 (VNĐ600 million).
On August 24, 2016, at the second hearing, the HCM City People’s Court found Dũng guilty and handed him a death sentence.
On Monday, the HCM City Superior Court said Dũng and his lawyers had failed to put forth new evidence or circumstances for the ruling to be commuted.
The court also upheld the decision that his partner was innocent as there is no evidence to show that she was an accomplice.
Việt Nam has tough drug laws, and death penalty is handed down to those convicted of producing or selling 100 grams or more of heroin, or 300 grams or more of other illegal narcotics. — VNS