Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vietnamese airline employees charged with gold smuggling to Russia

Trio face charges for gold smuggling attempt
Police are pressing charges against three people who allegedly attempted to smuggle around 1.5 kilograms of gold to Russia two years ago.

The trio, Nguyen Xuan Hao, Dang To Hai, and Le Trung Hieu, are being charged with “smuggling goods and currencies,” police announced Monday.

Nguyen Xuan Hao was caught red-handed at HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat Airport in October 2006 carrying some 1.5 kilograms of gold jewelry hidden in a pilot’s headphones.

He was about to board flight VN527 to Russia.

Hao was an employee of Vietnam Airlines’ A75 Airplane Enterprise which specializes in repairing and maintaining the carrier’s aircrafts.

In order to board the plane without being detected with the gold, Hao used his staff card to cross the tarmac as if he was working, though he was not on shift at the time, the police said.

During questioning, Hao said the owner of the contraband was Dang To Hai from the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Hai had allegedly hired Hao and Le Trung Hieu, another airport employee, to smuggle the gold to Russia for his associate.

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