Thanh Nien staff met with criminal investigators in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday to provide them with undercover footage of an illegal private school's staff torturing and beating its autistic students.
Tan Binh District investigators said they began to question the owner and staff of the “Anh Vuong Special Primary School” immediately after reading a Thanh Nien exposé about the unlicensed school's barbaric practices.
During the initial questioning, all of Anh Vuong's staff admitted to having threatened and beaten the students, but claimed that their harsh methodology was designed “to teach them.”
After reviewing the footage provided by Thanh Nien, the inspectors concluded that the staff's declarations were patently false.
The detectives said that during a single week (July 7 – 13) five Anh Vuong employees were filmed using their hands, legs and various bludgeons and whips to beat and threaten their autistic wards.
After reviewing the evidence, police concluded that Le Thi Thuy Van, 56, had assaulted her students on 7 occasions; Do Thi Truc, 21, (a college student who was referred to as a "teacher") hit and pinched students' genitals 6 times.
The beatings were all meted out to punish the children for minor annoyances, such as asking to go home, drinking while eating, turning on the TV on or putting on the wrong shirt.
Colonel Le Van Thuc, head of the district’s police said that they will strictly punish the perpetrators of these abuses.
“The final conclusion will be revealed in one or two days,” Col. Thuc told Thanh Nien.
All of the 27 students at the Anh Vuong School have been taken home by their families. Some have already received partial refunds of their tuition payments.
“If the incidents were not revealed and published [in Thanh Nien], the beatings and tortures would have continued,” said Hue, the mother of an autistic student named Minh Sang. “My son was sick and developmentally disabled; he wasn’t conscious how he was being treated. We were totally unaware of the abuse.”
Hue told Thanh Nien that she has enrolled her son at another school for autistic children, which she described as being better and more reliable.