Phan Dai Loi, 31, was handed the sentence after he was found to have collected nearly VND600 million ($26,000) for smuggling dozens of people to Taiwan.
Mitigating circumstances however were applied to his sentence as he had sincerely confessed to the crime and had a good personal background, the court said.
According to the indictment, between January and March 2018, Loi colluded with a relative living in Taiwan to arrange for nearly 50 people to cross the land border into China, before smuggling them into Taiwan by boat so they could live and work there illegally.
Each person seeking Loi’s service had to pay $6,500, of which $500 was given to him beforehand while the remaining amount was to be paid once the person reached Taiwan.
However, two people being smuggled by Loi’s trafficking ring died when their boat capsized near Taiwan’s coast while 28 were discovered, arrested and deported by Taiwanese authorities.
Police arrested Loi in October last year following reports submitted by his victims.
Taiwan has become a sought-after destination for Vietnamese seeking jobs overseas ever since it lifted a 10-year ban on certain categories of Vietnamese workers in 2015.
Vietnamese workers in the territory can earn $700 – $800 a month, three or four times the typical remuneration in Vietnam.
Last year, 65,000 Vietnamese workers were sent to Taiwan, accounting for nearly half of Vietnam’s overseas workforce.
But news of Vietnamese trying to work or stay in the territory illegally is not rare. Last year, 152 Vietnamese in a travel group went missing in Taiwan, making local and international headlines. Many were discovered afterwards, admitting that they tried to stay in Taiwan to work illegally.
Taiwan sentenced two Vietnamese and a Taiwanese to prison last week for their involvement in the smuggling.
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