The state-run Vietnam News said the new law took effect on July 2, removing eight crimes from the list of those punishable by death. These include rape; theft; smuggling; the production, storage, transport and circulation of fake money, cheques or government bonds; the illegal use of drugs; hijacking of aeroplanes or ships; giving bribes; and the destruction of military weapons or equipment.

In 1999, Vietnam reduced the number of death penalty crimes to 29. Despite the latest amendments, the country still has 21 crimes that are punishable by death. Vietnam has sentenced at least 20 people to death since the beginning of this year.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - July 6, 2009