Vietnam’s president demands answer on prolonged child sex abuse case

By Xuan Hoa   March 12, 2017 | 06:30 pm PT
A 76-year-old man had been accused of molesting seven girls in the same apartment building for several years.

Vietnam’s president has ordered top police and prosecutors to look into a case of sexual abuse involving seven children, following multiple media reports that suggested no strong legal action has been taken.

The Vietnam News Agency on Sunday reported that President Tran Dai Quang asked that the Ministry of Public Security and the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the top prosecutors' office, speed up the investigation.

Police in the southern beach town of Vung Tau opened a criminal case in August last year after seven families at an apartment building filed complaints that a 76-year-old male neighbor had molested their daughters many times, allegedly since 2012.

One of the girls was 7 years old when her mother reported the case.

In recent weeks several media reports have described the legal proceedings as slow.

Nguyen Duc Trinh, deputy police chief of Vung Tau, told VnExpress that investigators need more time to build evidence for the case.

Trinh said police have only talked with six of the victims while the other has moved.

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.

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