Another Vietnamese wife dies in South Korea

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Pham Thi Truc in a wedding photo with her South Korean husband in 2006. Courtesy photo

A family in the southern province of Hau Giang is cooperating with the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea to investigate the death of their daughter who moved there with her Korean husband seven years ago.

Forensic tests found Pham Thi Truc, 31, committed suicide in her home on April 25.

She leaves behind two daughters, three and six years old.

Her family was informed by a Vietnamese friend of hers also married to a Korean man, that Truc hanged herself to death.

Truc's family expressed shock. "I saw bruises on her neck and the authorities said they found a towel twisted several times around her neck. I did not believe that she killed herself, but I could not express that to them as we spoke different languages. I will wait for official probe conclusions," said Truc's brother, Pham Van Luc, in a VnExpress report.

Luc said Truc had not sounded happy recently. She called home several days ago saying she had managed to save a large sum of money under her and her children's names and was planning to bring them with her to live in Vietnam in the near future.

Marriage brokers arranged for Truc to marry Jeong Dong Sedk in a mass wedding ceremony in 2006 in Ho Chi Minh City, where she had been working for a shoe company since 2004.

Sedk's family attended the ceremony, gifting Truc a gold ring and a pair of gold earrings. Her family also received VND2.5 million to cover their travel expenses.

She moved to Busan, South Korea several months later, quickly finding a job at a local restaurant.

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The couple visited Truc's family in Hau Giang twice, but did not make it back for Truc's father funeral last year. Luc recalled Truc saying on the phone that her mother-in-law did not permit her to go.

Thousands of women from the Mekong Delta have married South Korean men over the past two decades.

Statistics from the Korean Institute of Social and Health Affairs showed that 7,636 Vietnamese women married Korean men in 2011, topping the list of foreign brides. Vietnamese wives shared the top position with Chinese counterparts in 2010 at 9,623.

Many of them were driven by poverty to enter agreements with marriage brokers to wed older South Korean men who were unable to find wives at home.

Truc's mother Tran Thi Chi, 71, said her family is not poor and that they have six hectares of paddy fields which provide for their ten children, and that her daughter had married Sedk out of love.

But like most marriages brokered by illegal agents, Truc's family was not told anything about their future son-in-law such as where he lived or what he did for a living, Chi told VnExpress. Although they attended the wedding, Truc's family did not learn the name of Truc's husband until after her death.

Many Vietnamese brides' South Korean dreams have been shattered by the reality of language barrier and culture clashes. For some, the nightmare has proved fatal.

A 27-year-old woman from Hau Giang killed herself and her two children last November, jumping from the 18th floor of a Busan building while holding her son and daughter. The husband had recently lost all family's money and had treated her violently.

In May of last year, VnExpress reported that a South Korean farmer beat his Vietnamese wife to death in front of their 19-day-old child.

Another Vietnamese woman was killed by her Korean husband one week after marrying him in 2010, while another jumped to her death in 2008 after enduring continual abuse at the hands of her Korean husband and his mother.

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