HCMC task force to monitor child abuse fight

By Trung Son   April 9, 2019 | 03:12 am PT
HCMC task force to monitor child abuse fight
HCMC would deploy an inspection team to investigate the implementation of the Vietnamese Law on Children, in wake of a highly controversial child abuse case. Photo by Shutterstock/HTWE
A HCMC task force will inspect implementation of the Vietnamese Law on Children from April 16-26.

The 20-member team will be led by Thi Thi Tuyet Nhung, head of the Division of Culture and Society under the HCMC People’s Council, which acts as the municipal legislature.

The team is being established following several cases of sexual assault against children that have recently come to light wherein it has been said that there was insufficient evidence to treat the actions as crime and perpetrators as criminals to be prosecuted, said Nhung.

"There are cases reported by local media... but when investigations happen, the evidence found is too weak," Nhung said.

Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, a HCMC National Assembly delegate, said recent cases of children being physically and sexually abused were "alarming," and showed that Vietnam’s legal system still has too many loopholes.

Last week, an elevator camera at an apartment building in the city's District 4 caught a man molesting a young girl, wrapping his arms around her neck and kissing her. He said that he was merely petting her because she was cute.

He was identified as Nguyen Huu Linh, a retired deputy chief prosecutor of Da Nang, Vietnam's third largest city. However, Linh has not been charged with any crime.

The camera footage sparked widespread anger on social media, and the Vietnam Association for Protection of Child’s Rights called for the ex-prosecutor to be charged with child molesting.

The prosecution process for the case was moving too slowly, Khue said in a Monday meeting.

"Linh saying that he only ‘petted’ the girl is an interpretation and language usage that aims to distort his violation of the law on children’s rights. This case needs to be thoroughly investigated," he said.

"No one is above the law, and even more so for Linh who was part of the judicial system, [which is why] he needs to be punished even more strictly."

Khue said there needs to be a common interpretation among different agencies on what constitutes a case of sexual abuse against children by law. He also said that authorities should investigate such cases as soon as possible once they were exposed, an opinion echoed by Nhung, who said prompt action would protect victims and secure necessary evidence.

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