Vietnam trafficking ring busted after selling 20 newborns

By Dam Huy, Thanh Nien News

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A baby saved by Ho Chi Minh City police from a major trafficking ring busted in late February

Police in Ho Chi Minh City are extending investigations into a national baby trafficking ring that stretched as far as China after core members were arrested in late February.
An officer said the ring had sold at least 20 newborns.
It would reserve a child when the mother was still pregnant or it would buy a baby and take care of it until it found a customer, the officer said Thursday.
“This is the biggest newborn trafficking ring ever busted in the city.”
The arrested members include three city residents Ngo Thi Lan, Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Thien Nhan, Tran Ngoc Quy who worked as a manicurist in front of the city’s leading obstetrics hospital Tu Du, Pham Tuan Phuong who was a xe om (taxi motorbike) driver from the Central Highlands’ Dak Nong Province, and Tuong Dinh Thuong from the northern city of Hai Phong.
Quy, Vien, and Lan were arrested February 27 following tip-offs as they were buying a baby from a 26-year-old woman in front of Children’s Hospital No.1 for VND7 million (US$332). Other arrests followed.
The police said they had spent months keeping a close watch at the city’s maternity hospitals. The ring members disguised themselves as xe om drivers, food vendors and the like to approach unexpected pregnancy cases, then provided the babies to dealers who resold them to infertile couples around the city and nearby provinces
Their investigation started in the middle of 2013 and was ramped up after the ring’s link to China, Nguyen Thanh Hang, was arrested last August while attempting to bring two babies across the border.
Thuong, a ring leader, said the group had sold 20 newborns since last June for VND20-35 million each, several times more than their buying prices, and each member took between VND2-7 million from each sale.
He established a website and distributed leaflets with phone numbers in front of hospitals in the city, offering to sell sperm. He would then later tell interested customers the real "service" provided.

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