The jury said the acts of the defendants were extremely serious, as they caused social danger and directly violated national security as well as the legal rights and interests of people and society. Two people were injured and property damaged by their acts.
Nguyen Khanh, the ringleader, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of “terrorism to oppose the people’s administration” and four years in prison for “illegally manufacturing, storing and trading explosives”.
Sixteen others found guilty of “terrorism to oppose the people’s administration” were sentenced to terms of between three and 18 years.
They will continue to be placed under surveillance for two to five years after completing their sentences.
For “illegally manufacturing, storing and trading explosives”, two other defendants were given sentences of two years’ imprisonment and the last, two and a half years behind bars.
Khanh and three other defendants must also pay nearly VND350 million (US$15,000) in compensation to the police in Ward 12 in HCM City’s Tan Binh district as well as cover the treatment costs of the two injured persons.
According to the jury, the case was a violation of national security committed by “Trieu dai Viet” that commits terrorist acts aimed at overthrowing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The organisation’s founder, Ngo Van Hoang Hung (also known as Ngo Hung), was given the death penalty in 1979 (then commuted to a life sentence) in Vietnam for “attempting to overthrow the administration”, but fled to Canada.
He established “Trieu dai Viet”, frequently using social networks to lure people, including Nguyen Khanh, to the organisation.
Hung promised to appoint Khanh “brigadier general and governor of Dong Nai province”, and sent a total of VND144 million (US$6,215) and CAD600 (US$455) to Khanh to facilitate the operation.
Khanh used the money to buy 5 kg of explosives and 20 detonators from Nguyen Trung Truc, born in 1982 and residing in the Central Highlands’ province of Dak Nong, and handed over 7 kg of explosives and 25 detonators he had purchased earlier to Duong Ba Giang, born in 1971 and residing in Dong Nai province, in order to create 10 remote-control explosive devices.
Khanh asked Giang to give two explosive devices to 24-year-old Vu Hoang Nam from HCM City and 27-year-old Duong Khac Minh from north-central Thanh Hoa province, and guided them on how to use the devices.
Nam and Minh took the explosive devices, hidden in a backpack and a birthday gift box, to the station of the police in Ward 12 in HCM City’s Tan Binh district on June 20, 2018.
Pretending to be a resident completing an administrative matter, Nam put the backpack in the reception area and the gift box in the parking area, and exploded the devices remotely. The two then fled to Dong Nai, where they met with Khanh.
Khanh also handed over an explosive device to Nguyen Xuan Phuong with the intent to cause an explosion at the Tam Hiep ward police station in Bien Hoa city, Dong Nai province. Phuong, however, did nothing.
On June 23, 2018, Khanh gave three explosive devices to Nguyen Minh Tan, who, together with Pham Tran Phong Vu, caused an explosion at the office of the police in the Mekong Delta’s Hau Giang province on July 5, 2018.
Tan gave another explosive device to Hua Hoang Anh, who, instead of causing an explosion at the office of the police of the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province, put the device next to a power pole near his home in Minh Hoa commune in Kien Giang’s Chau Thanh district.
Khanh and his son Nguyen Tan Thanh, who was also Khanh’s accomplice, were arrested by HCM City police on June 26, 2018. Nam, Minh and others were caught later.
Police in Hau Giang and Kien Giang also arrested Tan, Vu, and others during the period from August 1 to August 7, 2018.