Vietnamese, Chinese nationals jailed for running illegal surrogacy operation

By Bao Ha   October 28, 2019 | 06:08 am PT
Vietnamese, Chinese nationals jailed for running illegal surrogacy operation
Cai Guo Lin, Cai Guo Fang, Trieu Thi Hang, Hoang Thi Thu Trang and Nguyen Thi Ngoc at the Hanoi People's Court October 26, 2019. Photo courtesy of Vietnam News Agency.
2 Chinese and 3 Vietnamese nationals were sentenced Saturday to between 15 and 36 months in jail for running a surrogacy ring.

The Hanoi People’s Court fined Chinese nationals Cai GuoLin, 37, and Cai GuoFang, 54, VND30 million ($1,300) each and sentenced them to 36 and 30 months in prison respectively.

Vietnamese nationals Trieu Thi Hang, 41, and Hoang Thi Thu Trang were sentenced to 20 months in prison each and fined VND20 million ($860) each. Nguyen Thi Ngoc, 19, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined VND10 million ($430).

GuoLin and GuoFang met each other in 2017 in China and both worked for a private in-vitro fertilization clinic owned by GuoYong. Both of them were asked to go to Vietnam and find surrogates to be implanted with embryos from Cambodia, before taking them back to China.

In September last year, GuoLin came to a private clinic on Hanoi’s Tran Duy Hung Street, where he was introduced to Trang, who was a nurse and interpreter for the clinic.

Trang accepted GuoLin’s offer to be the interpreter in the process of finding surrogates. They then approached Hang, who worked at a newspaper stall in front of the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology on Hai Ba Trung Street. Hang agreed to find surrogate candidates for GuoLin.

Later that month, Hang offered Ninh Thi Thom, 31, VND250 million ($10,800) to become a surrogate, with a bonus of VND30 million ($1,300) for a successful pregnancy.

The fertilization process happened in October last year. In November last year, a successfully pregnant Thom was brought to China to be taken care of. She’s still in China at present, authorities said.

During Thom’s surrogacy, Hang received VND100 million ($4,300) from GuoLin, and gave VND50 million ($2,150) to Thom. Trang’s gifts, food, drinks and traveling expenses were all paid for by GuoLin.

Also in November last year, Hang was introduced to two potential surrogates, including Ngoc, by an unidentified woman. Ngoc agreed to become a surrogate and also to find other surrogates for Hang. Ngoc later found five other women aged 28-31 to become surrogates.

In December last year, GuoLin, GuoFang and seven surrogates went to Saigon, and were to go on to Cambodia. But one surrogate, who feared she might be trafficked, called the police, who busted the surrogacy ring.

China, the world’s most populous country, suffers from one of the most skewed gender rates in the world due to its one-child policy and illegal abortion of female fetuses. This has also been a major reason for the trafficking of Vietnamese women and girls over the border.

Vietnam legalized surrogacy in 2015 but only to benefit infertile couples and by family members. Commercial surrogacy is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

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