3 June 2004 – Nam Cam

Nam CamVietnamese drug lord and all-round dodgy geezer, Trương Văn Cam was executed today for various crimes including murder. Better known as Nam Cam, he was done for ordering a hit on a rival as well as mafia-type crimes including protection racketeering.

He wasn’t new to the whole crime thing, having started at the tender age of just 15 – and we’re not just talking petty stuff either. He went straight for the kill and was done for the fatal stabbing a man during a brawl. But that bought him a mere two years in jail before he was unleashed back into society. He joined the South Vietnam army and fought for a while against the communist Northern territory and the formidable Vietcong.

He was captured and subjected to ‘re-education’ in the north before he was released back to the South. There he set up the beginnings of a huge mafia-like organisation in Ho Chi Minh City – anything illegal and he was into it, bribing powerful people along the way, who in turn, were happy to overlook his decidedly dodgy dealings.

Cam shafted

But it was a rival that was to be his undoing. Sick of being overlooked, a former employee set up in successful opposition, even daring to send him a box of rats to one of his restaurants. Unable to forgive or forget the humiliation, he ordered her to be bumped off by one of his hitmen and that signalled the end of the road for the grimy crime lord.

His trial brought down the city pretty much – 150 people were dragged through the mire with him. His gambling and prostitution rings were blown wide open and the extent of the sleaze exposed. People were being jailed and brought to task all over the place in one of Vietnam’s most high-profile cases.

Under fire

However, it was Nam Cam who was the real target – capturing him was a real coup and one in the eye for Vietnamese organised crime and corruption. And they got him good – he was found guilty of murder and racketeering and the sentence was unequivocally death. As a result, the 56-year-old faced his very own firing squad on this day in 2004.

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