Do Thi Kim Ngan, 3, has been under treatment for brain bleeding and a pocket of blood beneath her facial skin at the Binh Duong General Hospital. Photo: Do Truong
A de facto couple in the southern province of Binh Duong was arrested Saturday and has been interrogated for allegedly torturing their three-year-old daughter, who was hospitalized a day earlier with multiple injuries.
Binh Duong police said Do Trong Minh, 27, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, 26, will be investigated for charges of “deliberately injuring others,” which is punishable by jail terms of up to 15 years under Vietnam's Penal Code.
The couple is renting a room in Binh An Ward in Binh Duong's Thu Dau Mot Town.
Their daughter, Do Thi Kim Ngan, was rushed to hospital on Friday afternoon by neighbors of the pair who had spotted the girl lying on the floor with a swollen face and bruised eyes.
Doctors at the Binh Duong General Hospital said on Saturday that Ngan was unconscious and very weak on arrival. But the girl is recovering and can speak now, according to doctors.
“Ngan suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage [bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain] and a hematoma beneath the facial skin that need to be followed closely,” said Nguyen Minh Khoi, head of the hospital’s neurosurgery department.
A married couple, Nguyen Duy Hung, 33, and Tran Thi Que Nhan, 22, who were among the people sending Ngan to the hospital, voluntarily took care of the child.
Ngan's parents, Do Trong Minh and Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, have been arrested and probed for "deliberately injuring others". Photo: Do Truong
When Thanh Nien visited Ngan, she said: “Mom beat me. Dad threw me.”
During questioning, Minh and Trang admitted that they often used a bamboo stick, roughly 60 cm long, to beat their child, claiming they only wanted to “make the naughty and disobedient daughter behave".
Trang confessed to whipping Ngan’s buttock and hands with the stick on Wednesday night as the girl played with the gas stove.
Minh later joined the beating, punching and hitting Ngan’s head and face by hands, according to police documents.
Their neighbors said the couple did not care to seek medical treatment for Ngan even after the girl was critically injured.
Minh even attempted to prevent the neighbors from rushing Ngan to the hospital, forcing some of them to subdue him so others could do so, the neighbors said.
Minh and Trang told the police that they have lived together without marriage since 2010. Trang gave birth to Ngan in February 2011. But the pair did not register for any birth certificate for the girl either.
Before being arrested, Trang was a garment worker while Minh had left his job as a security guard two months ago and has remained jobless.
Binh Duong is around 35 kilometers to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City and is home to several major industrial parks.
Violence against children remains a family affair in Vietnam, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said at a national function to launch Vietnam's campaign against child violence last May.
Jesper Moller, UNICEF representative in Vietnam, said that violence against children is usually kept inside the family and hidden from public view.
He said it can only be prevented when people join together to publicly denounce it, so it can no longer be hidden.
Vietnam's legislature is still amending its laws and regulations to better comply with international child protection policies.
At the function, Minister of Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen also said education and healthcare services in Vietnam also need improving to better protect children.
A 2011 survey conducted by the General Statistics Office with support from UNICEF found that nearly one quarter of mothers of children below 15 say they've had witnessed chronic abuse from fathers and husbands.
The abuse included punches, kicks, slaps, shoves, thrown objects and threats.