File picture: Pixabay

Hanoi, Vietnam — A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced a South African man to death after finding him guilty of trafficking nearly 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of cocaine.

The Ho Chi Minh City Law newspaper said Tyron Lee Coetzee was convicted in a half-day trial Tuesday.

It said Lee was arrested in June 2016 upon arriving at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat international airport after officials found the drug in his bag.

The newspaper quoted Coetzee as telling investigators that he was hired by a Nigerian man to transport the drug for $3,500 which would be paid after his arrival in Vietnam.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Trafficking 100 grams or more of heroin or cocaine is punishable by death.

South Africa's Department of International Relations and Co-operation he is yet to comment on the sentence.

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