Hanoi police have formally launched an investigation into a case of suspected child sexual abuse following accusations that a man had molested an 8-year-old girl.
The news, first appeared in a nationwide broadcast by state-run Vietnam Television last weekend, has stirred up public anger and caught the attention of senior government officials.
The Monday launch by Hanoi police came after Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh asked the municipal government to properly handle the case and report back to the central government within March.
Media reports said a mother in Hoang Mai District has accused a 34-year-old man of molesting her 8-year-old daughter several times, while the district police said they had not obtained enough evidence to warrant criminal investigation and would need another two months to further look into it.
Van, the mother, told VnExpress that she was extremely indignant with the police’s findings, saying she had already sent written queries to several law enforcement agencies at Hanoi and government levels.
According to Van, on the evening of January 8, the girl was molested by the man, also her neighbor, when she and some of her friends were playing near her house. Police summoned the man on January 11 but did not arrest him.
The incident in Hanoi surfaced at a time when reports of a case in Ho Chi Minh City and another in the southern city of Vung Tau caught public attention. State President Tran Dai Quang has called on relevant authorities to accelerate investigations into the child sexual abuse in Vung Tau seven months after the case was formally opened.
In Vietnam, more than 8,200 cases of child abuse came to light between 2011 and 2015, including 5,300 cases of sexual abuse, according to official figures released a year ago.
In most cases the perpetrators were people having authority over the children, like teachers, school security guards and relatives.
Vietnam usually allows up to three months for most criminal investigations. Serious cases that require more time can be extended, but only with permission.