Vietnam man jailed for plotting terror attack

Le Quoc Binh was arrested in August 2018 ahead of Vietnam's national day in central Binh Dinh province carrying seven rifles and 500 bullets that he smuggled in from Cambodia.
Le Quoc Binh was arrested in August 2018 ahead of Vietnam's national day in central Binh Dinh province carrying seven rifles and 500 bullets that he smuggled in from Cambodia.PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (AFP) - A Vietnamese man has been sentenced to six years in jail for terrorism and weapons possession after he was convicted for smuggling a cache of guns into the country from Cambodia, a court official said on Tuesday (May 28).

Terror-related crimes are rare in the one-party communist state, where a hardline administration in charge since 2016 has waged a crackdown on critics, jailing dozens last year alone.

Le Quoc Binh was arrested in August ahead of Vietnam's national day in central Binh Dinh province carrying seven rifles and 500 bullets that he smuggled in from Cambodia.

A court on Monday sentenced him to one year in jail for allegedly planning an attack and another five years for weapons possession, according to a court clerk and state media.

"Binh used Facebook to share and popularise the use of weapons and violence against the state," according to a report from Bao Ve Phap Luat, the official mouthpiece of the national procuracy office.

The report said Binh was disgruntled because his family was relocated from their land in south-central Quy Nhon city and were unfairly compensated.

The official Vietnam News Agency said Binh travelled to Cambodia several times between June and August 2018 to procure weapons.

It added Binh asked for leniency in court before his sentence was announced.

Weapons are not widely available in Vietnam and violent terror-related attacks are extremely rare.

Seven people were arrested last year, including three on terrorism charges, for bombing a police station in Ho Chi Minh City just days after widespread economic protests rocked the country.

The demonstrators opposed a draft law for special economic zones that some feared would be taken over by Chinese investors, though Beijing was not named in the proposal.

 

In 2017, 15 people were jailed for a foiled petrol bomb attack at Ho Chi Minh's main airport, the busiest in the country.

Though terror attacks are not common, Vietnam routinely jails dissidents and activists, with at least 128 prisoners of conscience currently behind bars, according to a report from Amnesty International this month.