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Triwenning Puji Astuti, of Indonesian nationality, received the sentence on charges of “illegally transporting narcotics” at a trial opened by the Hanoi People’s Court on Thursday.
Triwenning, a 28-year-old babysitter in Indonesia, was arrested on September 12, 2014 after police, following a tip-off, raided her room at the Hang Bong Hotel in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District and found heroin hidden in the hard covers of six comic books.
The total weight of the drugs collected from these books was about 5kg.
The woman was staying at the hotel while waiting to deliver the drugs to a buyer, whom she was unable to meet after she arrived in Vietnam via Noi Bai International Airport in late August.
In May 2014, through the introduction of a friend, Triwenning agreed to be hired by a man named Staenly to transport drugs to several countries for US$200-300 each case, according to the woman’s testimony.
All costs related to the drug trafficking were at Staenly’s expense.
Triwenning did not directly meet Staenly and only dealt with him via the Internet.
After Triwenning successfully carried drugs from Malaysia to Hong Kong and from Indonesia to the special administrative region, on August 28, Staenly asked her to fly from Indonesia to Malaysia to meet two men for one more trip.
These unidentified men handed Triwenning a suitcase containing clothing and the comic books and asked her to bring it to Hanoi.
They also gave the woman an air ticket to that city and some money for her expenses during her stay in Vietnam.
On August 30, Triwenning flew from Malaysia to Noi Bai and she had stayed at several hotels before arriving at the hotel on Hang Bong Street where she was arrested.
At yesterday’s trial, the prosecutor from the Hanoi People’s Procuracy demanded that the jury sentence Triwenning to death.
Meanwhile, the woman showed repentance for her offense while fully replying to the jury’s questions.
After taking into account all details of the case, the jury decided to give the defendant a life sentence.
Under Article 194 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment can be given to those who are convicted of illegally stockpiling, transporting, trading or appropriating heroin or cocaine weighing 100 grams or more.
The same penalties are also given to those who commit the crimes in one of the following circumstances: opium resin, marijuana resin or coca plasma weighing five kilograms or more; marijuana leaves, flowers, fruit or coca leaves weighing 75 kilograms or more; dried poppy fruit weighing 600 kilograms or more; fresh poppy fruit weighing 150 kilograms or more; other narcotic substances in solid form weighing 300 grams or more or in liquid form measuring 750 milliliters or more.