Australian man sentenced to death for heroin trafficking

An Australian man of Vietnamese origin was given the death penalty after being convicted of heroin trafficking in southern Vietnam, a court official said Tuesday. Trinh Huu, 53, was convicted of trafficking 1.8 kilograms (4 pounds) of heroin Monday at a court in Tay Ninh province, which borders Cambodia.

Three other accomplices, all from Ho Chi Minh City, were given sentences ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment. Huu was arrested at the Vietnamese-Cambodian border crossing of Moc Bai in December 2004. The other three were arrested in Ho Chi Minh City after his confession.

Two other Australians were sent to death row this year for drug crimes in Vietnam. Several Australians of Vietnamese descent have been sentenced to long jail terms for heroin trafficking in recent years. Nguyen Van Chinh, 45, a resident of Sydney, was sentenced to death in April for heroin trafficking after a raid on his hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City uncovered 1.05 kilograms (2 pounds) of the drug. His appeal in July failed but Australian officials are helping him ask for clemency from President Tran Duc Luong.

Mai Cong Thanh, 46, of Victoria, was convicted in June of trafficking 1.7 kilograms (3.7 pounds) of heroin and sentenced to death.

Thanh was arrested in June 2003 after police found the heroin hidden in 76 stereo speakers during a raid of his rented workshop, state-controlled media have reported, reports the AP. I.L.

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