A member of the crowd waves an American flag at a ceremony in California. Photo by Reuters.
Two men, Nguyen Khac Trong and Nguyen Van Chuong, both aged 32, and Bui Thi Thu Hong, 34, will be investigated for the crime of "organizing or coercing other persons to flee abroad or to stay abroad illegally." The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
Initial investigation into the trafficking was carried out following a complaint from Lai Dinh Thoang, one of the ring’s clients.
Thoang wanted to send his son to the U.S. The gang promised to get the son to the U.S. as a tourist.
Thoang was forced to pay more than $36,000 for the required procedures. However, when they could not deliver on their promise for a long time, he asked for his money back, but was refused, prompting him to file a complaint.
It appears that the gang had been running their illegal operation for a long time, collecting at least $21,000 per person, promising to send them to the U.S. for better jobs.
The U.S. has been a dream destination for many Vietnamese citizens. Many people from Vietnam have gone through long and frustrating struggle to get a visa to the U.S., particularly since the start of the Trump presidency.
The latest probe happens in the context of fears many Vietnamese might be among the 39 people found dead in a refrigerated container truck in the U.K. last Wednesday.
Although the victims have not been officially identified, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered investigation into the all activities of trafficking of Vietnamese citizens abroad.