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Canadians arrested in Vietnam on drug charges

HANOI: Two Canadian nationals, including a man of Vietnamese origin, have been arrested in Vietnam's southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City for trafficking and selling amphetamines, police said on Monday. The city's anti-drug police arrested Nguyen Van Hai, 40, and Randy James Sachs, 26, on Saturday in District One after finding them in their possession of 1,000 amphetamine tablets following a surveillance operation. "The two said they bought the drugs in Europe to sell to organized crime networks in Vietnam for 13 dollars per tablet," a member of the police anti-drugs squad said. Canadian consular officials in Ho Chi Minh City said they were waiting for confirmation from the authorities of their arrest. Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.

Anyone found in possession of 300 grams or more of heroin, or over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of opium, faces the death penalty. In April 2000, a Canadian national of Vietnamese origin, Nguyen Thi Hiep, was executed by a firing squad in Hanoi after being convicted for trafficking five kilograms of heroin. She was the first Western national to be executed for the crime in Vietnam and the event prompted a frosting of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Eight foreign drug traffickers have been executed in Vietnam since 1995, when Wong Chi-Sing from Hong Kong was put to death for trafficking five kilograms of heroin. At least 16 people have been executed this year, mainly for murder and drug trafficking, according to information compiled from state media.


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