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Police arrest father of 8-year-old girl as accomplice to fatal abuse

Update: December, 31/2021 - 14:19
Nguyễn Trung Kim Thái at his apartment in HCM City. — Photo tienphong.vn

HÀ NỘI — HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District Police arrested Nguyễn Trung Kim Thái on Thursday night to investigate his behaviour relating to his 8-year-old daughter’s death on December 22.

The girl was allegedly abused to death on December 22 by Võ Nguyễn Quỳnh Trang, Thái's fiancée. The case has provoked outrage across the country.

According to the investigation, at 2pm on December 22, Trang instructed the child to do her homework but she failed to do so, and Trang loudly scolded the child and used a wooden stick to beat her, causing the girl to vomit.

Trang then made a phone call to Thái to return home to take the child to hospital, but she had died before arriving.

Authorities determined that the child died from acute pulmonary edema, and her body had many bruises and haematomas.

According to police, the three had been living together at an apartment in Bình Thạnh District since June 2020.

It was also reported that the young girl’s biological mother had not been allowed to meet her for over a year since the couple divorced.

Trang was arrested on December 23 and prosecuted on Tuesday for “abusing others.”

Strict punishment

In a related move, on Thursday night Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh ordered the Ministry of Public Security and the People’s Committee of HCM City to urgently investigate and strictly deal with all violations and violators pertaining to child abuse.

Minh tasked the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs as well as ministries and sectors to strengthen measures to protect children, measures against child abuse, domestic violence and school violence.

“All individuals who cover-up behaviour or delay handling of violations of child abuse will be severely punished,” Minh said.

Minh required the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuracy to direct the People's Court and People's Procuracy at all levels to closely coordinate with investigative agencies in investigating and strictly handling violations related to child abuse.

Parents, caregivers and family members have to uphold the responsibility of caring for, nurturing, educating and protecting children, he added.

Changing the charge

In the meantime, the Việt Nam Association for the Protection of Children's Rights has sent a document to Bình Thạnh District to ask the police to change the charge for Trang from “abusing others” to "intentionally causing injury, causing fatal consequences."

The association said the charge of “abusing others” was not appropriate according to the law.

According to the association, Trang's violent behaviour occurred many times over a long period. The behaviour was violent in nature and caused fatal consequences.

Trang admitted to the police that during the time they lived together, to "teach the child" she ordered a rattan rod to beat her. After the rod was broken, Trang used a wooden stick to beat the child.

There were many old wounds and stitches on key body parts of the girls, such as the head and armpit.

The right side of her second, third and fourth ribs were also broken and showed signs of slight haematoma. Besides, haematoma was also found under the skin of her right frontal forehead and she also suffered from mild cerebral edema, the association said.

Therefore, the association believes that Trang's behaviour is indicative of "intentionally causing injury and causing fatal consequences," according to Clause 4, Article 134 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Protecting children

Government Decree 56/2017/ND-CP stipulates clearly that organisations and individuals that discover or have information about acts of abuse on children or children at risk of being abused should immediately notify the National Child Protection Hotline 111, or the labour, invalids and social affairs agency, or police, or the People's Committee of the commune where the incident occurred.

Đặng Hoa Nam, head of the Child Department under Ministry of Labour, War, Invalids and Social Affairs, said: “If people and neighbours had denounced Trang's violent behaviour to the authorities sooner, the heartbreaking incident would not have happened.”

“Any act of child abuse, whether it is a threat or a reality, cannot be a 'private matter' of any parent or family.”

The Law on Children 2016 clearly stipulates that organisations and individuals have the responsibility to inform, notify and denounce acts of child abuse or children at risk of violence to the competent authority, he said.

“Information providers are protected by law,” Nam said. "Therefore, the information and identity of whistleblowers will be completely confidential, and people will not be afraid of retaliation."

“If there is a suspected case of child abuse, the simplest thing to do is to call the National Child Protection Hotline 111. The agency will receive and implement all necessary measures to protect children.” — VNS

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