On April 2, 29 people appeared before the People's Court of the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien charged with conducting banditry in Muong Nhe district, in accordance with Article 83 of the Penal Code.

The Dien Bien People’s Procuracy allege that the 29 defendants are among 37 people involved in a criminal gang. Eight others are on the run, including Thao A Lu – the suspected ringleader.

The prosecutors claim that members of the gang embarked on a shooting spree on October 15, 2012 at soldiers on duty in Sen Thuong commune in Muong Nhe district, killing one border guard officer and injuring four policemen.

They said Thao A Lu and a person named Vang A Ia led a group of 19 overseas Vietnamese and 16 locals in Dien Bien to perform a scheme to seize weapons and attack several targets in Muong Nhe district with the goal to set up a so called Mong Kingdom .

They affirmed all defendants are aware of the group’s scheme to oppose the people’s administration and conduct armed activities to establish their own " Mong Kingdom ”. They joined in the activities while knowing that their acts violated the law. The prosecutors asserted that the defendants’ acts breached the safety of the people’s administration and disturbed social security and order.

During the trial, eight defendants are charged with conducting banditry activities under Item 1, Article 83 of the Penal Code , while the other 21 are accused of being accomplices in banditry activities in accordance with Item 2 of the article.

The trial is scheduled to run until April 8.-VNA