JUDGES in northern Vietnam have condemned 30 people to death and jailed dozens more for trafficking over 12 tonnes of heroin in what was the Communist country's biggest-ever drugs trial.

All 89 defendants were found guilty of trafficking the heroin between 2006 and 2012 and each appeared flanked by two police officers at a mass trial in Quang Ninh province which was held outdoors, in the yard of a detention centre, rather than in a courtroom.

Thirteen received life in jail and 46 were given either prison terms of up to 20 years, or warnings.

Loading article content

Vietnam has long been used as a connecting point for moving heroin between Laos, Myanmar and China to other Asian countries and Australia. The country's courts are known for giving harsh punishments to traffickers, which until recently included death by firing squad, but lethal injections are now used.