The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on Tuesday sentenced a man who masterminded the Tan Binh district police station bombing to 24 years in prison for “carrying out terrorist activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” and “illegal manufacturing, possession and trading of explosives”.
Nguyen Khanh, 56, a native of Dong Nai province, led the bombing of the Ward 12 police station on June 20, 2018, injuring three people, including an officer, and causing damage to property, the court said.
This was a “particularly serious, dangerous act that threatened the national security”.
Duong Ba Giang and Nguyen Minh Tan, his accomplices, got 18 years each for “carrying out terrorist activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”.
A trio directly involved in the bombing, Vu Hoang Nam, Duong Khac Minh and Pham Tran Phong Vu, got 17 years for the same charges.
Fourteen other defendants got two to 12 years, including Nguyen Tan Thanh, 30, Khanh’s son, who got three years, for making illegal explosives.
The men were also ordered to pay a fine of 10 million dong ($430) each and will be placed under house arrest for three to five years after completing their prison terms.
Khanh had a close relationship with Ngo Van Hoang Hung, the self-proclaimed commander-in-chief of the subversive Trieu Dai Viet (Viet Dynasty) organisation that he founded in 2017.
The police said Khanh was upset with authorities following a land dispute, and so was easily lured by Hung into joining Trieu Dai Viet.
Hung promised to appoint him “governor” of the “Dong Nai Autonomous Region”.
Hung sent money – 144 million dong and C$600 (US$450) – to Khanh to buy explosives for carrying out terrorist attacks and recruit people, the prosecution said.
On Hung’s orders, Khanh instructed Nguyen Trung Truc to buy 12kg of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 45 detonators and other materials required to make bombs.
There is an Interpol notice for Hung for “carrying out terrorist activities”, the police said.
Hung was given a life sentence in Vietnam in 1979, but fled to Canada and remains at large.
His organisation spreads its messages through Facebook and YouTube, the police said. Its motto is to “fire all, kill all, destroy all, steal all”.
It had planned to bomb the houses of some officials, but was stopped in time, the police said.
Bomb blasts are rare in Vietnam.
Anyone found guilty of trying to overthrow the people’s administration faces 12-20 years’ imprisonment, life imprisonment or death under the Penal Code.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK