26 Prosecuted for Tobacco Smuggling in Lao Cai

Twenty-six defendants were indicted Tuesday in a large-scale tobacco smuggling case in Lao Cai province. Among them is Nguyen Ngoc Kim, the former vice chairman of the provincial People's Committee.

The defendants, who are charged with “smuggling and giving bribes,” include Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lien, former director of Thien Loi Hoa Company, Nguyen Huy Tan, former deputy director of Thanh Son Tourism Company, Vu Van Nguyen, former director of Phi Long Company, and three former employees of Kim Lien and Thien Loi Hoa companies, namely Cao Ba Hau, Nguyen Xuan Son and Pham Huu Thom.

Charged with “swindling and appropriating assets” are former police officers Ta Manh Dung and Dinh Van Minh. Meanwhile, tens of former customs officers in Lao Cai province, including Dinh Ba An, a former head of the Lao Cai Customs Department, were indicted for “taking bribes”.

Nguyen Ngoc Kim, former vice chairman of Lao Cai province’s People’s Committee, is charged with abusing his positions and powers in the conduct of official duties. Vu Van Khoa, an official at Ha Long Fishing Port, Hai Phong was charged with giving bribes.

From October 2004 to June 2006, Nguyen Ngoc Kim signed 14 false documents that allowed five enterprises to import tobacco leaves. Kim obtained VND85 million (US$5,100) as a result. This act created favorable conditions for the smuggling of over 11,000 tons of tobacco leaves worth more than VND223 billion (US$13.4 million).

Lien, Tan, Thom and Khoa offered bribes of over VND1.4 billion (US$84,000) to 16 customs officers in Lao Cai province.

By H. Tan – Translated by Truc Thinh

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