Four South Koreans have been sentenced in Vietnam to up to 10 years in prison for illegally smuggling visitors into the Southeast Asian country at the height of Covid-related travel restrictions, police said Thursday.
A court in central Da Nang has sentenced Lee Kwan-yuong, 55, and Seo Yuong-jin, 50, to 10 years behind bars for ‘arranging illegal entry into Vietnam’ , according to the police of this city. Two other South Koreans were sentenced, respectively, to nine and four and a half years in prison. Fifteen Vietnamese were given prison terms for the same charges, and five others, including a South Korean, were given suspended sentences.
About 200 of their compatriots
Vietnam reacted from the start of the pandemic in 2020 by closing its borders, which it only reopened in March 2022. Only a small number of foreign experts and skilled workers were allowed to enter. The convicted South Koreans used their businesses as cover to allow entry for about 200 of their compatriots, state media reported. Lee Kwan-yuong pocketed more than 40,000 euros for services rendered between December 2020 and March 2021, until his arrest.
Vietnamese authorities have begun a review of abuses related to the management of the pandemic, following a series of cases involving in particular political dignitaries. At least 100 officials and businessmen have been arrested in connection with a scandal over the distribution of coronavirus screening tests. Suspicions of corruption over the repatriation of Vietnamese living abroad during the pandemic also led to around 40 arrests, most of them state agents. South Korea is the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with a total capital of over 75 billion euros.
Source : 7 Sur 7