Vi Yen Supermarket in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, where a 13-year-old girl was tied and taped with a paper sign reading "I'm a thief" in public, after being caught stealing books. Photo credit: VnExpress
A court in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai gave suspended sentences to four employees of a local supermarket for publicly humiliating a teenager after catching her stealing two comic books.
The 13-year-old girl had her hands tied and forced to wear an "I'm a thief" sign in public more than a year ago. The mistreatment grabbed headlines and drew severe public criticism.
Security guards with Vi Yen Supermaket in Chu Se District Nguyen Ngoc Tan, 31, and Phan Van Hai, 26, received a one-year sentence each, while sales clerks Le Tran An, 24, and Nguyen Thi Thanh Cung, 27, each got nine months.
They were all charged with "illegal detention," news website VnExpress reported on Thursday.
According to the indictment, on April 10, the schoolgirl, who was then 12, and her friend visited the supermarket to buy stationery.
The girl then stole two comic books and hid them in her jacket.
But she triggered the supermarket's security system when exiting from its entrance, which prompted Tan and Hai to stop her and her friend.
Upon being questioned, the girl took out the books.
She was ordered to write a report, while her friend was let go.
Still, An dragged her to the railing on the supermarket's first floor where the girl threatened to jump down.
Cung then tied her hands to the railing, while other staff members held her.
Hai came to meet accountant Tran Thi Kim Oanh, asking her to make a sign reading "I'm a thief," which he taped on the girl's chest later.
The security guard took a photo of the girl, who was not released until 10 minutes later when her family paid VND200,000 as compensation fees. The books were priced at VND20,000, or less than US$1 in total.
Later that day Hai posted the photo on his Facebook page which soon went viral and enraged lots of netizens.
The case was reported in local media and prompted police to step in.