Vietnam police probe incest allegations

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Police in the south central province of Phu Yen are investigating a 25-year-old woman's accusation that her father forced her to live in isolation in a mountainous area and raped her many times until she became pregnant.

Dang Luu Tam Anh and her two-year-old baby were rescued June 10 by local reporters after living on her own for eight years in Lo Dang, a remote mountainous area in Dong Xuan District.

Anh told reporters she was sent to live in Lo Dang by her 62-year-old father, Dang Ngoc Hai, when she turned 17.

Illiterate and frightened, she was resigned to her fate. She was told to graze a herd of 20 cows for her family in the morning and return to a makeshift house at dusk, everyday.

Hai visited her sometimes and stayed overnight. When Anh was 18, he forced her to have sex with him.

Anh said her father shooed away any man who tried to approach her. Every time there was a stranger around, he would beat her later. He also threatened to kill her if she told anyone about what he did.

After being raped by Hai many times, Anh got pregnant. Last year, she gave birth to a baby girl in the house in the middle of the jungle.

For over eight years, Anh said, her daily meals have consisted of rice with salt and fish sauce provided by her parents every several months. Sometimes the rice ran out and she had to rely on fruit she found in the jungle.

Anh said she has been too scared to tell the police and did not know where to go anyway.

She said Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, her 55-year-old mother, helped deliver the baby, and that Dung also kept mum about what was happening because she was scared of being killed by Hai.

When Anh grazed the cows in the morning, she left her daughter (named Nui) tightly wrapped in the net and blankets on the bed so that the infant would not fall on the rocky ground.

Every day, the girl stayed home alone until Anh came back at dusk.

Anh further told the Phap Luat newspaper that the father had been telling her recently to let the baby die.

On June 10, local reporters successfully persuaded Anh to report the case to local police. Her parents were then summoned for questioning but they denied all accusations.

One day later, police collected the DNA of the baby girl and Hai for paternity tests.

As of press time, the result was not available.

On June 12, senior lieutenant-colonel Tra Trong Phu, deputy police chief of Dong Xuan District, told Vietweek that Hai could be charged with "abusing people" for forcing Anh to live in alone in the jungle.

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