Police question gay man accused of pimping young boys

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City's Hoc Mon District are investigating Thi Truong Han, 20, the alleged leader of a child prostitution ring that made headlines earlier this week.

Han, who goes by Thuan, is also accused of personally abusing underage boys before pimping them out to paying customers.

The police investigation was prompted by an October 22 article in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, which exposed a website advertising sex with young boys.

Encounters can be scheduled for one to two hours in the afternoon in hotel rooms in Hoc Mon or District 12, Thuan told undercover Tuoi Tre reporters, explaining that services were only available in the afternoon because the boys attended school each morning.

The day after the article appeared, Hoc Mon police summoned Thuan and some other unnamed suspects for questioning, Tuoi Tre reported.

Thuan targeted boys attending primary and middle schools in Hoc Mon, becoming acquainted with them at public places such as swimming pools, parks and internet cafes, Tuoi Tre said.

He lured the victims into trusting him by buying them meals, playing games and giving them money, it said.

Eventually, he tricked the boys into having sex with him, capturing the abuse on film in order to use the footage to blackmail them into having sex with gay men for money later.

Customers paid VND1 million (US$48) for oral sex and VND2 million for intercourse.

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Thuan abused and prostituted dozens of boys, mostly between the ages of 12 and 14; he claims he allowed the boys to keep two-thirds of the money they earned as child prostitutes.

According to Tuoi Tre, the ring's clientele included students and foreigners living in HCMC.

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