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Death for Aussie drug trafficker June 10, 2005 - news.com.au
A 46-year-old Australian man has been sentenced to death by firing squad for trying to send heroin stuffed in loudspeakers to Australia, a court official says.
Mai Cong Thanh, 46, received the death penalty yesterday, two years after his arrest for having conspired with two other Australian nationals to smuggle heroin from Vietnam to Australia, the Ho Chi Minh City court official said.
One of the two accomplices, Nguyen Manh Cuong, was diagnosed with mental disorder and found incompetent to stand trial.
The other, Lee Benjamin, is believed to have fled to Australia and Vietnamese police have issued a warrant for his arrest.
The three were reported to have compressed two kilograms of heroin into small pieces and hidden them in loudspeakers.
Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.
Those in possession of 300 grams of heroin or more than ten kilograms of opium often receive the death penalty.
Several other Australian nationals of Vietnamese origin are on death row but foreigners are rarely executed in the communist country.
In April 2000, a Canadian of Vietnamese origin became the first and only westerner since 1975 to be executed. In July 2003, an Australian woman had her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
Earlier this month, an Australian man of Vietnamese origin was jailed for 20 years for drug smuggling.
The Vietnam cases come after Australian woman Schapelle Corby received a 20-year-jail term in Indonesia last month for trying to import 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into the resort island of Bali.