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Pagoda probe reveals multiple problems

Update: August, 20/2014 - 08:53
The pagoda started hosting children because social protection centres lacked the facilities to do so, said Phan Dang Long, deputy head of the Education Section of Ha Noi's Party Committee.— Photo anninhthudo.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Bo De Pagoda, which made headlines following the arrests of two female residents for alleged child trafficking, failed to provide decent living conditions to residents.

These included children as well as the disabled and elderly, Nguyen Duy Ngoc, deputy director of the Ha Noi Police, said yesterday.

However, there was no proof that chief monk Thich Dam Lan was involved in the child trafficking case, he added.

A police investigation revealed that the pagoda never got permission from authorities to host children and disadvantaged groups. It was lacking in hygiene and facilities and caretakers were not adequately prepared to take care of children. None of the children under six went to school as is required by law, while 80 were never granted birth certificates.

The pagoda started hosting children because social protection centres lacked the facilities to do so, said Phan Dang Long, deputy head of the Education Section of Ha Noi's Party Committee.

In response to rumours about 11 children that reportedly disappeared, Long said that authorities had the addresses of each child. Seven had been returned to their families, two had been adopted by families in Nam Dinh and Dong Nai and one was still staying at the pagoda.

The investigation team continued to search for one child, aged four, who had left the pagoda.

In early August, Nguyen Thi Thanh Trang, a caretaker at Bo De Pagoda, was arrested by the police for allegedly selling a baby who was raised at the pagoda. Pham Thi Minh Nguyet, who bought the baby, was also arrested. Both are now facing charges of child trafficking.

About 135 people are still living in the pagoda, including children as well as elderly and disadvantaged people, Vnexpress e-newspaper reported. — VNS

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