Suspect arrested in high-profile Hanoi child sex abuse case

By Hoang Viet   March 16, 2017 | 10:49 pm PT
The 34-year-old suspect had been summoned by police in January for questioning, but was not arrested.

Police have detained a 34-year-old man in Hanoi on accusations of molesting his 8-year-old neighbor on several occasions, a case that has stirred public anger and caught the attention of top government leaders.

Cao Manh Hung was taken into custody on Thursday more than two months after the girl's mother made an official complaint against him, saying her daughter came home after playing near the house complaining of genital pain on January 8.

The Hanoi Police-run Capital Security newspaper said Hung used to work as a debt collector for a bank in the city.

The girl's mother said Hung had been playing hide-and-seek with her daughter and several other children, and had taken the girl into a hidden corner and molested her. Two of her friends tried to hit Hung when they saw him holding her.

Van said her daughter told her Hung had “checked her body” many times. Medical tests found injuries to the girl’s vagina, and her hymen was torn. Police summoned Hung for questioning on January 11, but did not arrest him.

Van said she had sent written complaints to several law enforcement forces in Hanoi and government agencies.

Last Friday, local district police said they did not have enough evidence to open a criminal investigation, and would need two months to look into the matter.

Hung's detention comes just days after the story spread widely on social media and prompted a deputy premier to order strong and swift action.

Under Vietnam’s penal code, having sex with a child under 13 years of age is ruled as child rape, which can result in the death penalty, while other acts of child sex abuse are punishable by up to 12 years in jail.

In a separate development, an appeals court in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak upheld a six-month jail term handed by a lower court to a 73-year-old shop owner, who was found guilty of molesting a 6-year-old girl in May 2016.

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