22 March 2006 :Phung Long That, or Bay That, a former senior customs officer who had taken bribes and abetted one of the country’s largest smuggling scandals back in late 1997, was executed by firing squad in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.
That, former head of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Squad under the HCMC Customs Department had played an instrumental role in the high profile Tan Truong Sanh smuggling ring. The municipal People’s Court handed death penalties to That and Tran Dam, cartel leader and director of the private-owned Tan Truong Sanh company in late 1999. The cartel had smuggled in goods worth $83 million, mostly electronics and automobiles from 1994-97.
According to the indictment, Dam had bribed customs officials with a total of US$35,900 mostly thanks to That’s help. Dam’s term, however, was commuted to life sentence afterwards. The court also handed down lengthy jail terms to 72 other defendants, many of whom were former customs and police officers.