Vietnam couple get 3 years in jail for violence against 9-year-old daughter

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A couple in central Vietnam were sentenced to prison Thursday for inflicting violence on their nine-year-old adopted daughter.

The Quang Ngai Province court also ordered Nguyen Mui, 59, and his wife Doan Thi Hong Yen,50, to pay VND10.5 million (US$502) as compensation for the psychological damage they caused to Nguyen Thuc Phi.

Mui and Yen were arrested in February after neighbors told the police that they severely beat the girl and locked her up for a whole day after suspecting she had stolen VND500,000 from them.

Prosecutors told the court that since 2010 the two had been constantly hitting and whipping her, locking her naked in a chicken coop, and chaining her in the front yard.

Phi was born to a local woman who abandoned her soon after birth and left the place. The girl was left at Mui and Yen's noodle shop by a strange woman in 2005, then adopted by another couple who returned her in 2010.

The neighbors said Mui and his wife made her get up at 4 a.m. every day to wash dishes, clean, cook, and serve customers at their shop, beating her every time she got up a bit late.

Phi has been sent to the province social welfare center.

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Figures from the Ministry of Public Security show that nearly 7,900 cases of child abuse had been reported in the country between 2006 and 2010, almost 60 percent of it sexual.

There have been recent instances of a 13-year-old boy in Ninh Thuan Province being chained and constantly beaten by his father, and a three-year-old boy being hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City with a torn liver and damaged testicles after being thrashed by his stepfather.

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