Australia to help Melbourne schoolgirl stranded in Vietnam: report

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Kate Vo (R) and her mother. Photo credit: The Age Kate Vo (R) and her mother. Photo credit: The Age

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An 11-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl stranded in Vietnam for two weeks will be able to return home this week after the Australian government fast-tracked her bid to secure a new passport, The Age reported Thursday.
Kate Vo has been stuck in Ho Chi Minh City since late August after her father allegedly took her and her mother’s passports and then claimed they had been stolen at gunpoint, the newspaper said.
It said while her mother, Duong Nguyen, was able to obtain a replacement passport at the Australian embassy, Vo's passport could not be reissued.
Consular officials insisted the father's signature must be provided to issue a passport to Vo.
Vo's mother and father have been separated since April but traveled to Vietnam together to visit relatives in July. The mother reportedly said her ex-husband was "elusive and unavailable."
The Age quoted a youth worker, who has been assisting the family, as saying that action from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was sped up after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stepped in to help.
The Age quoted a department spokeswoman as saying although Australian law required both parents to sign a child's passport application, special circumstances provisions could be considered in the event full consent could not be provided.

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