The hashish - with a street value of $US90 million ($A102.35 million) - was seized from two containers full of blue jeans on a ship that arrived in the northern port city of Hai Phong in April 2008, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

The newspaper said a Hong Kong-based ring planned to transport the drugs from Vietnam to China, but the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said the drugs came from Pakistan and were to be shipped to North America through Vietnam's northern port of Mong Cai.

A court in the northern province of Quang Ninh, which borders China, sentenced the five men on Friday after a four-day trial.

The court ordered the hashish to be destroyed. More than $US180,000 and 19,758 pairs of jeans were confiscated, the newspaper said.

Sentenced to death were Lu Mingcheng, 52, and Wan Huilan, 42, both from China's Guangdong province; Chan Kwok Kwong, 52, and Ngan Chiu Kuen, 42, both from Hong Kong; and Ieong Chi Kai, 52, from Macau.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. About 100 people are executed by firing squad each year, many for committing drug-related offences.

The Associated Press / Agence France Presse - December 26, 2009