Child abuse cases: Slow police probes enrage nation

March 14, 2017 - 15:00

The Hà Nội police on Monday decided to formally investigate the sexual abuse case involving an eight-year-old girl, following intense public pressure over a series of paedophile cases came to light of late.

Thủ Đức District Police Chief, Colonel Lê Anh Tuấn, at the Monday press conference on the alleged sexual abuse of a 7-year-old girl in Thủ Đức District, HCM City, last month. — Photo
Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI  The Hà Nội police on Monday decided to initiate criminal proceedings in the sexual abuse case involving an eight-year-old girl, following intense public pressure over a series of paedophile cases came to light of late.
The police held an urgent meeting on Monday to review the status of investigations that followed after the family of the victim Janie Doe, residents of Hoàng Mai District’s Thịnh Liệt Ward, filed a complaint in January alleging that she was raped by a neighbour.
At the meeting, the investigation department was ordered to formally launch an investigation into the case.
As per the family’s complaint, the incident took on January 8 when their 34-year-old neighbour offered to play hide-and- seek with the victim and her friends at around 7.30pm.
Under the pretext of the game, the denunciated allegedly took the child to an isolated, dark alley and raped her. She was rescued by two of her friends, who saw what was happening and allegedly hit the man with a broom and their shoes.
However, it was not until bath time that the child’s mother found out about the attack. The girl then told her that the neighbour had touched her several times earlier too.
The Thịnh Liệt Ward police summoned the denunciated to the station on January 11, a day after the victim’s family filed the complaint, but he was not detained, though a medical examination stated that the girl had genital injuries and her hymen was ruptured.
Though the police did not disclose the name of the denunciated, his personal information and photo (he’s been referred to as Cao) went viral on Facebook on Monday, causing public uproar about the slow pace of investigations – it is already more than two months since the complaint was filed.
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình on Monday ordered Hà Nội People’s Committee to “urgently look into the case” and report to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
Slow progress
The Hoàng Mai assault is not the only case involving paedophiles nor the only case where slow investigations have outraged the public. Two more child sexual assaults have been reported, in HCM City and Vũng Tàu Province. These three are the rare cases that have been made public, serving as a wake-up call to all parents about the risk of child abuse, which is not even spoken about in Việt Nam.
On February 14, a woman in Thủ Đức District, HCM City, filed a complaint after she found multiple scratches and injuries on her seven-year-old daughter’s genital area and her pants bloodied. The child said she was attacked by a man in her school, which is located in the same district.
The school and Thủ Đức District Education and Training Division together denied that any sexual assault had taken place, despite one of the CCTV cameras in the school being suspiciously switched off for about an hour on the day of the incident. The district police, in a press conference on Monday, claimed that the camera had been “accidentally” turned off by a janitor.
“The medical examination shows that the girl’s hymen was not ruptured and no semen was found inside her vagina. This is an accurate result,” said Senior Lieutenant Colonel Đoàn Văn Phê, deputy chief of Thủ Đức police.
Thủ Đức’s police chief Colonel Lê Anh Tuấn, however, admitted that “no intercourse does not necessarily mean no sexual assault”. “I assure that there will be no cover-up. We have yet to arrive at a conclusion in the case,” he said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, President Trần Đại Quang ordered the public security ministry to urgently examine the sexual assault case in Vũng Tàu Province that has been under investigation for half a year.
In 2016, a woman, Trần Thị Thu Thủy, filed a report against a 76-year-old man in Vũng Tàu City’s Nguyễn An Ninh Ward, alleging that he had sexually abused her eight-year-old daughter during her summer vacations when she was home alone.
The Vũng Tàu police initiated criminal proceedings against the accused following extensive investigations showed that the man had allegedly abused at least six other children between 2012 and 2016. Investigations, however, have not progressed since then.  VNS