Accessibility links

Crime Boss Trial Includes 18 Vietnam Officials

A court in Vietnam has convicted the country's biggest mafia boss on organized crime charges - including murder and bribery. The trial of the gangster known as Nam Cam has riveted Vietnam because it involves senior members of the Communist Party accused of protecting him. Kay Johnson reports from Ho Chi Minh City.

Reputed Mafia boss Truong Van Cam, also know as Nam Cam, was guilty of seven charges including murder, bribery and racketeering. He is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and could get the death penalty. Among his crimes, he was convicted of ordering a hit on a rival crime boss after she sent him a gift-wrapped box full of rats.

Also found guilty Wednesday were two senior members of the Communist Party Central Committee, the elite 150-member group that makes most policy decisions in Vietnam. The two men, a vice minister of public security and the head of government-run Voice of Vietnam radio, were convicted of taking bribes to get Nam Cam released earlier from an prison sentence in the mid 1990s.

At the height of his power, Nam Cam's empire was reportedly raking in about two million dollars a month from gambling, kareoke bars and prostitution. His reach was huge - 153 co-defendants are on trial with him, including 18 government officials. One of these is Ho Chi Minh City's police chief, who prosecutors now say was on the crime syndicate’s payroll.