Five porters from a Hanoi market were sentenced to a total 17 years and six months in jail for ripping off merchants by charging illegal unloading fees, the city People’s Court announced on Friday.
|Nguyen Kim Hung, 56, head of the porter team no 2 at the capital’s biggest and busiest wholesale market of Long Bien, was said to be the ring leader of the extortion racket. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Nguyen Kim Hung, 56, head of the porter team no 2 at the capital’s biggest and busiest wholesale market of Long Bien, was said to be the ring leader of the extortion racket. The other four gang members were Nguyen Huu Tien, 49, Le Thanh Hai, 56, Nguyen Manh Long, 57 and 51-year-old Duong Quoc Vuong.
The court found them all guilty of appropriation of assets.
Hung received four years behind bars and had to pay VND30 million (US$1,300) in fines. Hai, Long and Vuong were handed three years and six months each while Tien would spend three years in prison.
According to the verdict, Hung and his men took advantage of being market porters to extort and threaten the business of a merchant named Nghiem Thuy Nga and her husband between March 3 and September 1, 2018.
They used dirty tricks to force Nga to pay heaps of money camouflaged as so-called ‘unloading fees’ greatly in excess of the amount normally charged by market authorities.
The gang refused to let Nga’s cargo trucks park at the market, parked a van blocking the front of her business kiosk and placed rotting fish next to the kiosk.
They even made the merchant pay unloading fees even though Nga did not hire the market porters to unload her goods.
The investigation concluded that the gang collected more than VND28 million from Nga of supposed unloading fees but only submitted VND3.2 million to the Long Bien Market management board.
Nga earlier accused Hung and his men of extorting more than VND1.6 billion ($69,500), but the court said police would look into this allegation as a separate case.