Five officials censured in Ca Mau child abuse case

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Five commune level officials in the southern province of Ca Mau have been rebuked for failing to detect and act on a serious child abuse case in Dam Doi District's Ngoc Chanh Commune.

A 14-year-old boy sent to work on a shrimp farm for a married couple was subjected to horrific torture for almost a year before authorities were informed and action taken.

Tran Thanh Hoa, chairman of Dam Doi District Party Unit's Inspection Committee, said on May 26 that the officials, who had admitted their responsibility in the case, were censured by the district Party unit.

The five officials are: Pham Duc Ly, chairman of Ngoc Chanh Commune People's Committee; the commune's police chief, Nguyen Thanh Binh; Truong Van Tam, secretary of Phu Hiep Hamlet Party unit; Truong Anh Ut, head of the Phu Hiep Hamlet; and Ly Thai Trieu, the hamlet policeman.

Hoa also said that the Dam Doi Party unit would recommend that district authorities take disciplinary measures against these officials.

Meanwhile, police are considering changing the charges pressed against the couple accused of torturing 14-year-old Nguyen Hoang Anh to a more serious one that is punishable by life imprisonment.

The accused, Ma Ngoc Thom and Huynh Thanh Giang, allegedly tortured Anh at least 30 times during his employment at their shrimp farm in Phu Hiep Hamlet, which is managed by Ngoc Chanh Commune.

Investigators have reportedly found that the couple hit the boy with hammers and oars, poured hot water on his body including his genitals, pressed a hot iron on him, strangled him with rope, pulled out his teeth out with pincers and poured chemicals on his wounds.

Giang and Thom have already been charged with "abusing others" and "deliberately injuring others", which are punishable by jail terms of up to three years and 15 years respectively by the Penal Code.

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