Hanoi maid accuses mistress of torture

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Hanoi police are investigating allegations by a maid who accused her mistress of torturing her physically and mentally, Tien Phong newspaper reported.

Pham Thi Kim Phuong, 58, has worked as a maid for the family of M., a senior resident of Kim Ma Ward, Ba Dinh District, since mid- September 2011.

Phuong said because she was rather slow in doing things, M. frequently insulted and beat her, and provided her with very little food to eat.

M. claimed that she lost VND5 million and that Phuong stole the money. She tortured Phuong every day to make her admit stealing. M. even forced Phuong to eat a bowl of red hot chilis and to eat her grandchild's feces from the diaper, according to Phuong's report.

One week earlier, M. forced Phuong to enter the bathroom and take off her clothes. She then turned the water heater to the maximum temperature and poured hot water on Phuong's belly and vagina.

Phuong was seriously burned, but M. forbid her from going to the doctor. Instead, M. bought a bottle of medicine to treat burns and locked Phuong in the house.

On Thursday morning, M. gave Phuong VND1 million and called a xe om (motorbike taxi) to take her to the bus station to go back to her hometown in Ung Hoa District.

"M. told me not to tell my family about the burns and other wounds, and to tell them I fell down the stairs, otherwise she would hire gangsters to hurt my family," Phuong told Tien Phong reporters.

In exchange for her freedom, Phuong said she was forced by M. to write a note admitting that she owed M. VND5 million.

 "She did not pay my four month's wages before I left. She even searched my stuff and grabbed my VND1.9 million savings, which I had earned while working for the previous mistress," Phuong said in tears.

On Thursday afternoon, Phuong's family discovered the wounds and rushed her to hospital.

There, Phuong told them the whole story.

The family said Phuong had written a complaint against M. and they will send it to Ba Dinh District's police unit.

They said they also received some calls and text messages from unknown numbers threatening their safety.

According to doctors at Van Dinh General Hospital, Phuong suffered external injuries and burns, and she had the signs of malnutrition.

After the Tien Phong newspaper reported the case to Kim Ma Ward's police office, police officers went to M.'s house, but it was locked and no one was home.

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