Charges filed in Vietnam's shocking criminal case of HIV injection

By Hoang Truong   December 5, 2016 | 07:28 pm PT
A group of three has been accused of injecting tainted blood into a 3-year-old boy in a revenge plot that rocked the whole nation.

Prosecutors in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on Monday filed charges against two people accused of injecting blood with HIV into a 3-year-old boy last year in a revenge scheme that has left the country in shock and disgust.

There have been no charges yet for the woman who allegedly hired the duo for the deliberate HIV transmission. She has been diagnosed with clinical depression.

Le Trung Linh, 32, and Huynh Van The, 31, will stand trial under charges of “intentionally spreading HIV to other persons.” A court date has not been set.

Investigators said they injected blood allegedly contaminated with HIV into the leg of the boy outside his school in June last year.

They said Dao Thi Thu Thao, 35, had hired them to harm the boy, the son of her boyfriend with another woman.

In April 2015, after a secret paternity test confirmed that the boy is her boyfriend's son, Thao allegedly hired Linh to kidnap the boy, but the plan failed.

A month later, she came up with another plan: infecting the boy with HIV.

Linh asked The to join and the duo was believed to have bought tainted blood for VND200,000 ($8.8). They then attacked the boy with a syringe.

He tested negative to the virus after one year of pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment.

In April this year, The threatened to harm the boy again and demanded VND150 million from the mother.

Police caught him receiving the money several days later.

Linh and Thao were arrested soon after that.

This is a rare criminal case of HIV transmission in Vietnam.

Under the Penal Code, those who intentionally spread HIV to other persons can be sentenced to between three and 10 years in jail. The offender can face life imprisonment if the victim is a child.

Police have not been able to identify the person who sold the blood. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to  confirm whether the blood injected into the boy was contaminated with HIV.

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