June 02, 2005
AN Australian man of Vietnamese origin has been jailed for 20 years in Vietnam for after being convicted of trying to smuggle 200g of heroin from Vietnam to Australia.
Traffic ... Tony Tran bought the drugs in Ho Chi Minh.
A court in the central Phu Yen province delivered the sentence against Tony Tran, 43, after he was found guilty of sending 200g of heroin by post to Australia, a court official said.
Tran's accomplice, his girlfriend, Le Thi Van, 33, was jailed for 15 years.
Tran faced a maximum sentence of death for the crime but the court issued the lightest penalty possible, the court official said.
Tran and his girlfriend bought the heroin in Ho Chi Minh City and tried to post it in small portions in May 2004, he said.
"We seized the heroin in the photos before it was sent out, and the crime is punishable by between 20 years in prison and the death sentence, so he was given the lightest sentence," the official said.
A spokesman for the Australian consulate in the southern business capital, Ho Chi Minh City, said: "An Australian- based officer from the consulate was present at the trial."
Tran had 15 days to launch an appeal, the spokesman said, adding "we ensured that he is aware of his right to seek an appeal".
Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.
Anyone found in possession of 300g or more of heroin, or 10kg or more of opium, may face the death penalty.