Baby returned after being kidnapped from Vietnam hospital

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Truong Van Hen, 31, and his son who was kidnapped at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital on January 8 / PHOTO COURTESY OF TUOI TRE

Ho Chi Minh City police returned a newborn baby to his parents on Monday after he was kidnapped by a woman at a local hospital five days ago.

Le Thi Bich Tram, 25, turned herself in together with the baby boy after police surrounded her home in Binh Chanh District.

It is unknown if a DNA test will be conducted to make sure it was the boy who was abducted in daylight at the District 7 General Hospital on January 8. The case has raised public concerns about Vietnamese hospital security.

Truong Van Hen, 31, told online newspaper VnExpress that he could recognize his son upon seeing him.

Tram told police that she kidnapped the baby because she wanted to keep it for her own after having a miscarriage last year. 

She did not tell her husband and his family about the loss, for fear that they would think she lied about her pregnancy to force the wedding. So, she pretended to be pregnant.

When her labor day was coming near, she came to live at her parents' home.

On January 8, after abducting the baby, she returned to her husband's home, claiming that it was their baby.

The kidnapping

According to the baby's mother, Nguyen Thi Minh Tam, 40, that day an unidentified woman approached her in a room where she was staying after her delivery and talked to her.

Her husband and two other women who had just given birth were then also in the room, which had eight beds.

The woman told Tam that she was waiting for her sister-in-law's delivery, adding that the sister was then in an operation room awaiting a C-section.

She gave Tam a can of milk, saying that she brought it for her niece, but found out that it was a wrong brand. Although Tam refused her offer, she put it on her chest of drawers, telling Tam to feed her son.

Tam said the woman slept on a bed opposite to hers that night.

The next morning after Hen left for home, Tam went to the toilet.

When she returned, she found her son missing.

Some people nearby told Tam that they saw a woman carrying a baby running to the hospital's gate.

She rushed to the gate where security guards said they saw that the woman had left on a xe om (motorbike taxi) with the baby.

According to police, they tracked the kidnapper's 10 kilometer trip from the hospital to District 10 during which she changed motorbike taxis three times, but they lost her in a crowded market.

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A security guard with the hospital told Thanh Nien that no regulations ask security guards to scrutinize people who enter and leave the hospital, adding that patients are required to complete paperwork before leaving.

Some women sign discharge papers after deliveries when leaving with babies, but others do not, he said.

Moreover, people often bring children in and out of the hospital for vaccinations, so security guards were caught off guard, he added.

Police are investigating the case.

It was not the first case in which a baby was kidnapped at hospital in Vietnam. A few cases had been reported in Hanoi and the northern province of Thai Binh in previous years.

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