Source: Vientiane Times
Vientiane People’s Court on Thursday handed down prison sentences to six people after finding them guilty of spreading Covid-19, facilitating illegal entry and exit from Laos, and deliberately concealing the movements of foreigners who entered Laos illegally.
Those sentenced were named as Ms Monemina Soutthida or Tina, 25, from Phonsavang village in Chanthabouly district, Vientiane; Ms Phavady Viphakone or Touktik, 26, from km20 village in Saravan district, Saravan province; Mr Phan Xayalath, 46, from Maknaoneua in Pakngum district, Vientiane; and Mr Phousai Sisavanh or Teu, 34, from Phonsavang-tai, Ms Sonenaly Duangsavath or Nina, 21, from Sanamxay village, and Mr Sompasong Souliyavongsa, 24, from Thahae village, all in Kaysone Phomvihane city, Savannakhet province.
The court sentenced Ms Tina and Mr Phousai to three years, seven months and 15 days in prison and fined them each 27,500,000 kip on charges of spreading Covid-19 and deliberately concealing the movements of foreigners who entered Laos illegally.
The court sentenced Ms Phavady to five years, one month and 15 days in prison and fined her 52,500,000 kip for spreading the virus, helping people to illegally enter and depart from Laos, and deliberately concealing the movements of foreigners who entered Laos illegally.
The court sentenced Ms Sonenaly and Mr Sompasong to one year, seven months and 15 days in prison and fined each of them 25 million kip for deliberately concealing the movements of foreigners who entered Laos illegally.
Mr Phan was given a prison sentence of 18 months and fined 25 million kip on charges of assisting people to enter and depart from Laos illegally.
The court heard that an April 7 Mr Sompasong picked up two men who illegally entered Laos by boat after crossing the Mekong River from Thailand to Savannakhet province on April 6. He took them to meet Ms Phavady, Ms Sonenaly and Mr Phousai in Savannakhet.
The same evening, Ms Phavady and the two men travelled to Vientiane where they met up with Ms Tina. Ms Phavady may have passed on the virus to her friend Ms Tina, although she did not know she was infected at the time.
The four friends then visited various places of entertainment in Vientiane and could have been responsible for spreading the Covid-19 virus in Laos.
At the end of their stay in Vientiane, Ms Phavady and the two men hired Mr Phan to take them by boat from Pakngum district to Thailand, where they entered the country illegally.
Ms Phavady and the two Thai men tested positive for Covid-19 when they returned to Thailand. They then entered Laos illegally through Nong Khai province on April 16.
After spending time with the three of them in Vientiane, Ms Tina developed flu-like symptoms and went to Mittaphab Hospital where she too tested positive for Covid-19.
There was a sudden increase in the number of infections following the group’s stay in Vientiane, constituting Laos’ first community outbreak of Covid-19.