Woman faces criminal charges for torturing housemaid

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Police in Hanoi's Ba Dinh District have proposed criminal charges against a 48-year-old woman for badly torturing her housemaid from last September to early March.

They say Tran Thi Tuyet Minh should be charged with deliberately injuring and torturing 59-year-old Pham Thi Phuong, a native of Ung Hoa District on the outskirts of the capital city.

Investigators said Minh recruited Phuong to work as a maid for VND1.5 million (US$72) per month last September.

After two weeks, she began to beat Phuong accusing her of being lazy and slow, not taking showers every day, and and stealthily eating food kept as offerings on the altar.

Last October, Minh forced Phuong to eat her grandchild's excrement after catching her red-handed eating food from the altar and stealing small money to buy some instant noodles.

Two months later, she forced Phuong to undress and poured hot water on her from the heater, seriously burning the woman.

On January 2, Minh bought 200 grams of chilly and forced Phuong to eat it after accusing the housemaid of eating food from the altar again. Phuong ate 20 chillies  and hid the rest under her bed but Minh found out and forced her to eat them all.

A day later, Minh called a xe om (motorbike taxi) to take her to the bus station and let her go home after finding that Minh's burns were getting worse.

Phuong's relatives took her to the hospital and reported the matter to the police.

Phuong's brother, Pham Quoc Ky, said Minh did not pay Phuong a single dong during the months that she worked and even appropriated VND1.9 million that Phuong had with her before she began working.

Minh was arrested on January 7. Police said she has confessed her crimes. An investigator told VietNamNet that Minh used to work for Ha Giang Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, but quit and found another job.

Further details about the case were not made available.

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