Ho Chi Minh City officials have suggested that a woman be fined VND10-15 million (US$468-701) if she was confirmed to be the mother who abandoned her son on a taxi early last month.
Nguyen Minh Tri, deputy head of the social affairs department of District 8, said he will ask the district government to punish Ho Thi Thu Van for childcare violations.
The district government has sent the 20-month-old boy, who is named Ho Dinh Gia Huy according to his birth certificate, to an orphanage as they are taking steps to confirm Van’s motherhood to return the boy to her.
Van has produced a birth certificate and hospital birth records of the boy -- as well as her ID card and residency book as she claimed the boy is her son.
The officials first demanded DNA tests for the confirmation, but now said they would just hold a meeting between all people involved.
Tri said the district government has instructed a meeting between Van, her aunt’s husband Mai Thanh Liem who has been said to be the main caretaker of the boy since birth, Van’s parents, Bui Thi Thom who is the owner of the house where Van registered her residency, the taxi driver Ho Minh Thuan, and officials from District 4 where Van is living.
He said they have also required Van to provide several photos of her and the boy.
If the meeting could not back up the motherhood claim, Van will have to seek DNA tests, which she has to pay for, Tri said.
Thuan, the driver from Vinasun company, said a woman carrying the boy and asked him to drive around the city that night as if she was looking for someone.
When they came to an alley in District 8 at around 2:30 a.m. on December 2, she gave the sleeping boy to him and asked him to wait for her to go borrow some money for the fare.
He waited for roughly 90 minutes, but she did not come back.
Thuan’s boss instructed him to drop off the boy at the Ward 1 office in District 8.
The office staff kept him for 18 days, during which time they reached out to his family but no one was able to provide sufficient evidence for them to release the boy.
Van told District 8 officials that she decided to abandon her son as her husband has treated her badly believing that the boy was of another man.
She was sent to the Nhi Xuan Rehab Center in the city on December 5, the day the city launched its campaign to rid the streets of drug users.
There, she had sometime to think, so she asked to leave the center after a week to get back her boy.
Van said she and her husband have another 6-month old child but lack stable jobs.
They have left Liem’s family to care for Huy.
Liem met with HCMC officials a couple days after hearing the news about Huy, but he could not provide any evidence to prove his connection, except for many photos of the boy, his vaccination records, some personal items and an account of all the scars and marks on the child’s body.
He has been urging Van to finish procedures to take the boy out of the orphanage after he failed to do so himself.