Vietnamese judge rebuked for lenient ruling in underage sex case

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Tieu Van Luan (R), and Lam Thi Chau stand trial in Ca Mau Province on June 30, 2016. Photo: Gia Bach Tieu Van Luan (R), and Lam Thi Chau stand trial in Ca Mau Province on June 30, 2016. Photo: Gia Bach

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The People’s Court in the southern province of Ca Mau has officially censured a judge for handing down a lenient sentence against a Vietnamese-American man convicted of having sex with an underage girl.
Du Thi Bot presided over the first trial of Tieu Van Luan, 57, in April which ended with a three-year suspended sentence.
According to the case file, the 15-year-old girl began to work as a waitress at a local restaurant in May 2015. But the owner Lam Thi Chau forced her to do sex work and collected half of the money.
Luan, who owns a large hotel in Ca Mau, paid to have sex with the girl. 
In June 2015, Luan and Chau were arrested after the girl's family reported that her daughter was held against her will.
Luan then admitted to paying VND500,000 (US$23) twice to have sex with the teenager at a local hostel.
The judge's decision in April to give Luan a suspended sentence immediately attracted widespread criticism, prompting prosecutors to appeal. 
An appeals court in June then sentenced both Luan and Chau to three years in jail. 
In Vietnam, having sex with a child between 13 and 16 years old is a serious crime punishable by up to 15 years. Procuring sex with those in that age range may also lead to a 15-year jail term.

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