Saigon kindergarten owner jailed for hurting kids

By Ky Hoa   July 25, 2018 | 05:09 pm PT
Saigon kindergarten owner jailed for hurting kids
(From L) Pham Thi My Linh, Nguyen Thi Dao and Pham Nhu Huynh at the court in Ho Chi Minh City on July 25. Photo by VnExpress/Vu Doan
The owner of a kindergarten in Ho Chi Minh City will spend three years in jail for violence meted out to 24 children.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday ruled that Pham Thi My Linh and her two assistants at the Mam Xanh (Green Buds) Daycare Center in District 12 had violated the dignity and health of the children, caused public outrage, dishonored the image of teachers in general and undermined the child protection policy of the country.

The court also made Linh, a trained preschool educator, pay VND800 million ($34,466) in compensation to the children’s families.

The two untrained assistants, Pham Nhu Huynh, 22, and Nguyen Thi Dao, 24, were given suspended sentences of 1.5 years and two years, respectively.

The indictment against the three women said they shared tasks in taking care of 30-40 children aged between three and five, whose parents mostly work in factories in the area.

Linh opened the daycare center in 2016.

Between October and November last year, the three regularly slapped, kicked, punched and beat the children with anything close to hand, including a knife, and forced them to put stacks of plastic stools on their heads.

Medical examinations found two of the children, aged 5 and 2, suffering intellectual disabilities.

Linh and Huynh accepted their wrongdoing, while Dao told the court that it was Linh who told her to beat the children.

The abuse came to light last November when the Tuoi Tre newspaper published video footage of the beatings, which quickly went viral online.

Police subsequently arrested Linh and shut down her center, while Dao and Quynh were placed under house arrest.

Child abuse at nurseries is not uncommon in Vietnam, but criminal charges are rarely brought against the culprits.

In a rare case, a court in the southern province of Kien Giang sentenced two babysitters to three years in jail in January 2014 for torturing children at an unlicensed private nursery.

The same year, a babysitter in Saigon received an 18-year jail sentence for killing a baby because she couldn’t stop him crying. She escaped the death sentence because she was under 18 at the time.

According to government data, every year, more than 2,000 children in Vietnam suffer serious abuse requiring special assistance and intervention.

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