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Vietnam court upholds jail terms for two for selling babies

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 16:20 GMT+7
Vietnam court upholds jail terms for two for selling babies
Tuong Dinh Thuong (L) and Ngo Thi Lan are seen at their appeal hearing in Ho Chi Minh City on April 21, 2015.

A Vietnam court has upheld the sentences of 14 and 16 years in jail for a man and a woman who belonged to a ring that sold four babies last year for US$4,170 in total.

>> Police bust ring selling infants for up to $33,000 The Supreme People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday rejected the appeals of Ngo Thi Lan, 45, and Tuong Dinh Thuong, 36, who was given the sentences at their first instance trial on December 24, 2014. Lan and Thuong told the court that they only acted as brokers for those who wanted to adopt children, so they pleaded for lighter penalties. But the jury of the appeal court did not accept their argument, affirming the evidence was enough to convict them of “trading in children” pursuant to Article 120 of the Penal Code. The case involved three other defendants but they did not appeal their sentences. They are Nguyen Van Vien, 45, who received a 6-year sentence; and Tran Ngoc Quy, 45, and Pham Tuan Phuong, 53, who got 12 years in jail each. According to these defendants’ testimonies, they sold four babies in February 2014 for VND90 million ($4,170 million) in total. According to the indictment, in October 2013, Vien and a woman, V.T.K.T., cohabited as husband and wife. At that time, T. was four months pregnant but she told Vien that she would not afford to support her future child and that she did not want her family to know about her pregnancy. Vien then suggested that T. sell her baby after delivery to get money, and the woman agreed. He later got acquainted with Quy through one of his friends and asked him to seek people who wanted to buy newborns. On February 14, 2014, T. gave birth to a girl at the Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital. Quy then contacted Lan and offered to sell the baby for VND7 million. On February 27, 2014, T. was discharged from the hospital and she and Vien took her baby to the area in front of Pediatrics Hospital 1 in District 10 to sell to Lan later the same day. While waiting for Lan to come, T. went to a toilet nearby and changed her mind, not wanting to sell her baby anymore. However, when T. came back, she found that Lan had come and Vien had already sold her daughter to the woman. When the trade was taking place, police officers rushed to the scene and arrested them.

From the testimonies of Lan and Vien, police nabbed Quy and then the other two members of the ring – Phuong and Thuong.

Lan and Quy later told investigators that their ring had successfully carried out three deals of trading in babies from the beginning of February to their arrest. With a view to seeking customers, Thuong set up a website at mamsongviet.com, which nominally acted as a broker in giving and adopting children but actually specialized in trading in children. Through this website, a childless woman – Tram – from the city’s Phu Nhuan District requested Thuong to help her to buy a newborn. On February 15, the ring sold a baby boy, whose mother gave him up at the Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital after delivery, to Tram for VND25 million. The ring then sold a baby girl to Tram for VND23 million. They also sold another baby to a couple in the southern province of Tay Ninh for VND35 million.

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