Several death sentences each for drug offenses in Vietnam and Indonesia

An Indonesian court on Friday sentenced eight Iranian drug traffickers to death after they were found guilty of smuggling more than 300 kilograms of crystal meth into the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world, but has waited several years to carry out death sentences.

A judge in the province of Banten on the island of Java ordered all eight men to be executed by firing squad because the gang had smuggled 319 kilograms of the illegal drug. The judge said all eight had been caught trying to smuggle the drugs across the Indian Ocean to Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, before they were caught at a port in Banten in February. The defendants have seven days to appeal the decision.

In 2018, eight Taiwanese smugglers were sentenced to death after being caught with around one ton of crystal meth. Several foreign smugglers have been executed by firing squad, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015 – a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and calls for the abolition of the death penalty. The two were labeled as ringleaders of the “Bali Nine” heroin smuggling gang.


A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced six people to death on Friday for trafficking 5.6 kg of heroin. The panel of judges said the convicts were involved in major smuggling rings that distributed large quantities of methamphetamine and ketamine and therefore deserved the harshest punishment.

The convicts are: Tran Nhat Thuan, his brother Tran Nhat Thu, Ngo Van Loc and his wife Nguyen Thi My Kha, Huynh Thanh Hai and Nguyen Thanh Phu. Thuan, 47, said he met a person named Pham Trung Hieu in 2019, who is currently on the run from police, and accepted Hieu’s offer to supply drugs to his clients.

According to the indictment, on September 7, 2020, Thuan received a shipment of 24 kg of methamphetamine, nearly 8 kg of heroin and 10 kg of ketamine from Hieu’s partners in Tay Ninh province, which borders HCMC. He hid the drugs in his house and delivered them on Hieu’s instructions. On September 10, 2020, Hieu instructed Thuan to deliver the remaining heroin of nearly 5 kg to Loc.

Thuan asked Thu to come along this time and arranged to meet 51-year-old Loc to hand over the shipment near a bus station in District 12. The brothers went to the location by car but saw many people there, so they called Loc to meet at a gas station in Hoc Moc District instead.

Investigators said police then caught the group red-handed during the exchange. During a police search of Thuan’s house, nearly 4 kilograms of narcotics were found. Further investigations revealed that Loc’s wife, Kha, was also involved in the drug trade with two other dealers: Phu and Hai.

Their delivery man Duong Van Dong was caught with almost a kilogram of heroin on September 10, 2020. However, Dong later died of an illness and was not charged. Police are investigating Hieu in another case. Investigators said they had not gathered enough evidence to charge him in that case.

Vietnam has one of the strictest drug laws in the world. Anyone convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or cocaine or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine faces the death penalty.