Nguyễn Kim Hưng, 56, head of the porter team no 2 at the capital’s biggest and busiest wholesale market of Long Biên, was said to be the ring leader of the extortion racket. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Five porters from a Hà Nội market were sentenced to a total 17 years and six months in jail for ripping off merchants by charging illegal unloading fees, the city People’s Court announced yesterday.
Nguyễn Kim Hưng, 56, head of the porter team no 2 at the capital’s biggest and busiest wholesale market of Long Biên, was said to be the ring leader of the extortion racket. The other four gang members were Nguyễn Hữu Tiến, 49, Lê Thanh Hải, 56, Nguyễn Mạnh Long, 57 and 51-year-old Dương Quốc Vương.
The court found them all guilty of appropriation of assets.
Hưng received four years behind bars and had to pay VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) in fines. Hải, Long and Vương were handed three years and six months each while Tiến would spend three years in prison.
According to the verdict, Hưng and his men took advantage of being market porters to extort and threaten the business of a merchant named Nghiêm Thúy Nga and her husband between March 3 and September 1, 2018.
They used dirty tricks to force Nga to pay heaps of money camouflaged as so-called ‘unloading fees’ greatly in excess of the amount normally charged by market authorities.
The gang refused to let Nga’s cargo trucks park at the market, parked a van blocking the front of her business kiosk and placed rotting fish next to the kiosk.
They even made the merchant pay unloading fees even though Nga did not hire the market porters to unload her goods.
The investigation concluded that the gang collected more than VNĐ28 million from Nga of supposed unloading fees but only submitted VNĐ3.2 million to the Long Biên market management board.
Nga earlier accused Hưng and his men of extorting more than VNĐ1.6 billion ($69,500), but the court said police would look into this allegation as a separate case. — VNS