Huynh Van Hoa, 40, who led a murder and robbery gang, was convicted in Ho Chi Minh City after a five-day trial, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

Court officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

In 2005, Hoa used a gun bought in Cambodia to shoot a man dead while robbing him of his motorcycle, the report said.

The following year, another man was shot and killed when Hoa and other gang members tried to rob him of 128 million dong (7,100 dollars), it said.

Hoa began his life on the streets when his mother committed suicide and his father was jailed. A year later, he was arrested for his first robbery, Thanh Nien reported.

Sixteen other members of his gang were also convicted at the trial, with sentences ranging from probation to life in prison, the report said.

Hoa and his three fellow gang members are the most recent of 21 criminals sentenced to die this year, according to reports compiled by AFP from state media and court officials.

Agence France Presse - April 28, 2009