Child hospitalized in HCMC after being brutally beaten by stepfather

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Nguyen Hoang Anh, 3, being treated at HCMC Children's Hospital No.2 with horrific liver and testicle injuries allegedly caused by his stepfather

A Ho Chi Minh City man has been arrested for allegedly brutally assaulting his 3-year-old stepson who has been hospitalized with severe liver, testicular, and other injuries.

Even doctors at Children's Hospital No.2, who have possibly seen everything before, sympathize with Nguyen Hoang Anh.

"Poor boy," says Dr Vo Quoc Bao, head of the resuscitation department.

"He was admitted on June 3 in very critical condition.

"His two testicles were bruised, the liver had a scratch six centimeters long and three centimeters deep, his face was swollen and black and blue, and there was internal bleeding in the left side of the stomach."

The boy had to undergo immediate surgery to have his liver stitched and 100 ml of hemorrhaged blood was removed, Bao said, adding he had to be in intensive care for at least 15 days.

Neither his mother, Lu Thi Men, nor other family members have visited him.

"He's looking for his mother," a nurse said after hearing the boy crying and mumbling.

Men told VietNamNet on the phone that she has been too busy with police questioning to go to the hospital.

Since she worked as a waitress and only went home late at night, she only knew her boy had been beaten because he cried.

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The mother said the beatings had occurred only in the last half a month after she brought him home because she could no longer afford to send him to a care center.

"After I remarried, I dared not keep him at home. I had someone to take care of him for VND1 million (US$45) a month. But recently I have had no money.

"I feel pained to see him like this. But I do not earn enough even for myself, so after he is discharged, I will send him into foster care.

"He might be happier living with a stranger than living with his own mother and suffering such misery."

Anh's biological father had separated from Men when she was pregnant, and has refused to visit the hospital.

Nguyen Nhan Tu, the 29-year-old step father, claimed to have kicked the boy on his stomach just once on May 29.

But police said the injuries showed the beating was more severe.

Neighbors said they once saw Tu hit the boy on his knees with a pestle in front of his wife, but she had not dared complain to the police.

Tu is unemployed and was convicted for robbery and drug trafficking, police records show.

Do Thi Nguyen, a neighbor and local Women's Association member who took the boy to hospital, said she would work with local authorities to place him in an orphanage.

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