|An officer of the Cao Bằng Border Guards taking the baby to the Cao Bằng Social Assistance Agency — VNA/VNS Photo Nông Tuấn|
CAO BẰNG — A transnational child smuggling operation has been prevented by Cao Bằng Border Guards, who stopped four people from crossing the border into China with a 15-day-old baby.
Two Chinese nationals, Feng Li and Yin Xiao Long, were arrested along with Lê Thị Mỹ Lệ, 23 and Phạm Thành Sinh, 36.
According to initial investigations, Feng Li was hired by a Chinese company and paid RMB20,000 (US$2,916) to come to Việt Nam and smuggle a baby across the border for a couple in China.
The couple hired a Vietnamese woman named Huỳnh Thị Ngọc Nhi, 32, living in HCM City, as a surrogate mother. She gave birth to the baby on January 28.
Feng Li paid for Yin Xiao Long to enter Việt Nam with her through Tân Sơn Nhất Airport and pose as the child's father, while Mỹ Lệ was hired to be a translator and a guide.
Lệ hired Sinh and two others to transport the group to Cao Bằng after receiving the baby from Nhi.
At around 1pm on February 12, at Mark 614 in Tềnh Quốc, Cần Nông of Cao Bằng, local authorities caught Feng Li, Yin Xiao Long, Lê Thị Mỹ Lệ and Phạm Thành Sinh trying to cross the border with a small baby boy.
The four were detained for "Trafficking of individuals under the age of 16", according to Rule 151 of the Criminal Code" and transported to the Cần Yên Border Post. The baby was sent to a social assistance agency in Cao Bằng.
Further investigations led authorities to arrest Lý Thị Anh Thư, 30, and Lê Thị Thanh, 27, who cooperated with the group and stayed in Bắc Kạn awaiting the news of the child's delivery across the border.
As this was a sophisticated crime involving individuals of many origins and foreigners, all files and evidences relating to the case were handed over to the Police Investigation Agency of the Cao Bằng Police Department.
The baby was handed over to the Cao Bằng Social Assistance Agency to take care of while authorities investigate and identify the baby's close relatives. — VNS