A Ho Chi Minh City court Thursday sentenced eight customs officials to prison for abetting “illegal import” of zippers and “tax evasion”. The People’s Court of HCMC put away Nguyen Van Nhon and Nguyen Thi Sau for 10 years each, Le Van Quang for eight years, Tran Quoc Dung for six years, Mai Tri Dung for four years, and Truong Cong Hai and Nguyen Hoang Minh for three years each. It also ordered the seven to each pay US$30,491, comprising of the money they earned from the caper plus a fine. Another official, Pham Son Lam, received a two-year suspended sentence for dereliction of duty. Between 1994 and 1997, Lau Ly Sang, director of Viet Hung company, and Benny Cheng, director of Hong Kong-based Crowning company, imported zippers from Hong Kong to Vietnam. However, the duo, with the connivance of 32 customs officials, reported and paid tax on imports worth just VND1.7 billion ($107,000). In reality, their imports were worth VND26.7 billion ($1.7 million). This meant they did not pay taxes on VND25 billion ($1.6 million) worth zippers, an amount worth $213,000. The customs officials and the two company officials divided up this amount equally between the nine of them. The other 24 customs officials were not hauled up in court but faced internal action by their department. Lau Ly Sang died during the investigation and Benny Cheng absconded. Reported by Le Nga – Translated by Minh Phat.