Officials under scrutiny in Ca Mau child abuse case

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Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against hamlet and commune officials in the case of a 14-year-old being employee tortured by a couple for over a year without being detected, a district official has said. 

The disciplinary measure will depend on assessments of any dereliction of duty, Dam Doi District chairman Doan Quoc Khoi told a meeting on Friday.

The four officials whose actions will be scrutinized are: chairman and police heads of Phu Hiep Hamlet, where Nguyen Hoang Anh on April 29 was hospitalized with multiple injuries, and the chairman and police head of the Ngoc Chanh Commune, which manages the hamlet.

Khoi also admitted his own shortcomings in managing the whole district, including the hamlet.


Nguyen Thanh Binh, head of the Ngoc Chanh police department, criticized neighbors and locals who knew about the torture being inflicted by Huynh Thanh Giang and his wife, Ma Ngoc Thom, but did not inform the police.


The police have sealed the couple's shrimp farm where Anh worked since September 2008 for further investigation, Binh said.


Giang, 33, and two of his employees, 17-year-old Tran Van Khanh and 18-year-old Lam Van Quynh, have been placed under arrest.


The last two on suspicions they aided in the torture of Anh. The two employees have claimed the couple threatened to fire them if they did not do as they were told.


Thom, Giang's wife, has also been placed under investigation, but has not been taken into custody because she had a child younger than two years old, police said.


Anh has told police that he was subjected to regular beatings and brutal torture including having hot water poured on him, cleansing chemicals flung on his injuries, and his teeth pulled out with pincers.


The details of torture have shocked and angered the public and raised questions about the governance of authorities under whom the abuse happened undetected for such a long time.


Local authorities have pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into the case and impose proper punishments on involved people, including officials found guilty of dereliction of their duty.

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