The Truth About Phuong Ngo's Organized Murder Plot

Political rivalries are extremely commonplace. Considering that politicians don't all share the same views as each other, nor represent the same parties, oftentimes they are also competing for the same governmental seat. In running for such positions, it's normal to see political advertising that blasts and attacks opponents. Yet, sometimes it can get even testier than just words and ads.

Legislative violence is a term used to describe exactly what it states: violence during legislation. It's happened in nearly every country around the world, according to the Washington Post. Words are exchanged, and sometimes they are followed by punches. But what happens when the violence goes beyond slugging? For decades, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of allegedly taking out his political rivals. Several of his vocal critics have mysteriously died, per another Washington Post report. Putin has never been linked to any of these deaths, but a cloud of suspicion remains over him.

However, for Australia's Phuong Ngo, there is no suspicion, and the politician currently sits in prison because he turned his political rivalry into a fatal ordeal.

Phuong Ngo's political ambitions

The Vietnamese-born Australian politician was an immigrant success story. Phuong Ngo immigrated to Sydney, Australia, in the early '80s with barely any money, reports Australia's Herald Sun. Still, he managed to find his way up by becoming a businessman as well as an important figure in the city's Vietnamese community. His growing rise and influence gave him political aspirations, and with that, he set a historic milestone. 

In 1987, Ngo was elected to the Fairfield City Council and was the first Vietnamese person in Australia to achieve such a role. However, by the early '90's, Ngo was even more ambitious and wanted a bigger political role. He also wanted to make history again as a Vietnamese, by going for a seat in the Parliament of Australia. But that seat was taken by another man. John Newman was a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Cabramatta — the same district Ngo was gunning for. Both men also stood on opposite ideas. Newman was known to be a by-the-books politician who went hard against crime and gangs. Whereas, Ngo was politically hungry and desired power. He was also accused of being involved in crime and drug-use in Cabramatta, per the Herald Sun.

A shocking political assassination

When Phuong Ngo ran against John Newman in 1991, he lost. Naturally in politics when you lose an election, you either fall into obscurity, run for another seat, or try again. But that likely meant nothing to Ngo. Instead, he had a darker side to him. Apparently, after his loss to Newman, he changed political parties by joining Australia's Labor Party (ALP) — the same party as Newman.

Ngo also let it be known that he was no fan of Newman in an interview afterward. Even beyond interviews, he was often spouting off about how much he disliked Newman. Insomuch that it was common knowledge he hated him (via Herald Sun). 

On September 5, 1994, Newman was assassinated. He was shot dead in his driveway by a killer who fled the scene. He was 47 years old. The shocking crime was Australia's first political assassination, per Daily Telegraph. Since it was such an unusual and horrific incident in Australia, Newman was given a state funeral as a result (pictured above).

The aftermath of Phuong Ngo's arrest and conviction

People suspected Ngo was involved in Newman's death, but it would take a few years before the authorities pointed to him as the mastermind of the crime and placed him in cuffs. Ironically, the very seat that Ngo took out Newman for was succeeded by Reba Meagher (via Crikey), who was already in talks to take over his spot before the assassination. Essentially, this meant Ngo wouldn't have had a shot if he tried, and his next role wouldn't be anything close to politics. 

In 1998, Ngo was charged with Newman's murder, per The Sydney Morning Herald. It took three trials to finally convict him in 2001. The two men Ngo had hired for the assassination, Tu Quang Dao and David Dinh, were both acquitted (via The Sydney Morning Herald). However, Ngo was given a life sentence, which he is currently serving. He's tried to challenge his conviction in the years after being sentenced, but Ngo has exhausted all of his appeals and will likely die in prison. According to the Herald Sun, Ngo presented himself as a well-to-do politician, but it was a facade. Ngo was reportedly deeply entrenched in Cabramatta's underworld and gangs, and he allegedly used his club to manage his organized crime. When he was sent away, authorities noted that crime rapidly decreased.