ĐIỆN BIÊN — A mother in Điện Biên Province has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for her connection to a drugs ring which led to her daughter being kidnapped, repeatedly raped and killed during the 2019 Lunar New Year holiday.
The Điện Biên People’s Court on Wednesday afternoon found 44-year-old Trần Thị Hiền guilty of storing, transporting and illegally purchasing narcotics. She, however, kept screaming “I am wronged, I am wronged” after the jury delivered its verdict.
Trần Thị Hiền (middle) was found guilty of dealing narcotics at a trial on Wednesday. VNA/VNS Photo
Bùi Văn Công, 44, Lương Văn Hùng, 28, Vì Thị Thu, 37 and her husband Vì Văn Toán, 37, admitted the same offence, which meant the former receive a 20-year jail term while the other three were handed lifetime sentences.
The court heard that Hiền met Công in May 2017 asking to buy four packs of heroin, which was quoted by Công at a total of VNĐ640 million (US$27,800).
The man later went to the drugs supplier Thu to order the drugs, but she only managed to bring home two packs from the Việt Nam-Laos border and asked her husband Toán to look after them.
In late May, 2017, Công and Hùng dropped by Thu’s house to take the heroin and delivered them to Hiền. She at the time paid Công VNĐ290 million in cash and owed him VNĐ30 million.
While Toán, Công and Hùng already received life sentences for drug offences, they should also face another trial for their murder of Hiền’s daughter – the 22-year-old Cao Mỹ Duyên – that shocked the entire nation earlier this year.
Điện Biên People’s Procuracy last week decided to prosecute nine people for separate crimes of kidnapping, rape and murder in the case. The prosecutors said they were seeking the death penalty for six defendants.
According to police investigation, Công, driven by a wish to get his VNĐ30 million back from Hiền, decided to take an offer from Toán to kidnap Duyên.
Toán, whom Hiền alledgely owed VNĐ300 million for drugs since 2009, thought the woman would have paid him the money in order to save her daughter. Hiền refused to do so.
On January 4, 2019 – Lunar New Year's eve, after taking the girl to his house, Công and his gang, including Phạm Văn Nhiệm, 43, Lường Văn Lả, 26, Lường Văn Hùng, 28 and Phạm Văn Dũng, 47, were believed to have taken turns to repeatedly rape Duyên for three consecutive days.
Two other men, Vương Văn Hùng, 35 and Cầm Văn Chương, 45, alledgedly raped the victim once in the early hours of February 7 before she was strangled to death and left at an abandoned house near Công’s house.
Công’s wife, Bùi Thị Kim Thu, 44, witnessed the girl being raped and killed by the men, but kept silent and did not call the police. She was prosecuted for failure to report criminals.
The date for the trial is yet to be confirmed. — VNS