Woman arrested in Ca Mau child abuse case

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Police in the southern province of Ca Mau on Sunday took a local woman into custody for allegedly interfering with their investigation into a child abuse case.


Ma Ngoc Thom was at first allowed to be free while she was under investigation for allegedly torturing 14-year-old Nguyen Hoang Anh for over a year, because her child was younger than three years old, said Nguyen Truong Ha, representative of Dam Doi District police.


The reason the privilige was taken away is still unclear but media reports have confirmed that Thom did try to bribe police in order to stay out of trouble.


Her husband, Huynh Thanh Giang, and two employees at their shrimp farm in Phu Hiep Hamlet, were arrested last week after local people informed police of the torture.


Also on Sunday, Pham Duc Ly, chairman of Ngoc Chanh Commune, which manages Phu Hiep, and Nguyen Thanh Binh, head of the commune police, received warnings for failing to detect the abuse that made headlines in Vietnam last week.


Truong Anh Ut, head of the hamlet, and Ly Thai Trieu, head of the hamlet's police, also received the same punishment.


Trieu admitted that it was a "big mistake" not to have noticed the abuse even though he had drunk with Giang at Giang's house several times, according to Ly.


Ngoc Chanh Commune's Communist Party was also considering punishments for involved party members at Phu Hiep, the official added.


Working for Giang's shrimp since September 2008, Anh told police that he was subjected to regular beatings and brutal torture including having hot water poured on him, cleansing chemicals flung on his injuries, and his teeth pulled out with pincers. He also said his genitals were proded with an electric iron rod and that the couple burned him with hot irons and put burning coals in his mouth.


The details of torture have shocked and angered the public and raised questions about the governance of local authorities under whom the abuse happened undetected for such a long time.

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