A VIETNAMESE man who killed a compatriot during a dispute in a closed camp has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr Justice Jerome Chan handed down the mandatory penalty on Le Duc Tien in the High Court yesterday. The jury had unanimously found him guilty of murdering Nguyen Van Haq, 30, at South Camp 1, High Island Detention Centre, Sai Kung. Le, 34, had pleaded not guilty. After he was convicted, he declared his innocence and wanted to address the court. But Mr Justice Chan told him he could only speak to his legal representative. Senior assistant Crown prosecutor John Halley had called evidence that Nguyen was playing chess with another inmate in a hut late on November 14 last year. The chess set belonged to Le. When he demanded it back, a fight broke out. Nguyen and Le were separated by other inmates. Soon afterwards, Le was seen chasing Nguyen, clutching a home-made knife. When Nguyen slipped and fell, Le jumped on him and stabbed him three times as he tried to get up. Le was taken into custody by Correctional Services officers. Nguyen was certified dead on arrival at hospital. A post-mortem examination showed that the fatal wound had penetrated a lung and the heart. Le, represented by Aziz Hoosen, had elected not to give evidence in his defence. However, in his statement to the police, he claimed that the knife belonged to Nguyen and contended that it fell to the ground during the scuffle. He picked it up to throw it away but it struck Nguyen.