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​Officials apologize after police handcuff 13-year-old girl in southern Vietnam

Saturday, May 12, 2018, 14:01 GMT+7
​Officials apologize after police handcuff 13-year-old girl in southern Vietnam
Bui Anh Quang (L), chairman of Phuoc Nguyen Ward in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam, apologizes to a local family after their 13-year-old daughter was handcuffed by police officers during land clearance. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Officials in Phuoc Nguyen Ward in Ba Ria, the capital of the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, have apologized to a local family after police handcuffed their 13-year-old daughter while enforcing land clearance.

The incident happened on Wednesday morning, when a group of around 100 officials in Phuoc Nguyen Ward accompanied by police officers arrived at a local residence to coercively clear land for a project to develop a public park.

The four-member family, including a couple and their two children, aged 13 and 22, was the last in the neighborhood that still refused to be relocated, citing insufficient compensation.

According to officers, the family had prepared two gas cylinders, 20 liters of gasoline and other items to hold their ground against law enforcement.

The residents threw items including rocks and bricks at the officials, threatening to set themselves ablaze if their house was seized.

Gas canisters are used by a family in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam to hold their ground against law enforcement. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Gas cylinders are used by a family in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam to hold their ground against law enforcement. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Rocks, bricks and other items are used to be thrown at officials by a family in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam whose residence were being coercively cleared. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Rocks, bricks and other items are used to be thrown at officials by a family in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam whose residence were being coercively cleared. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Police officers eventually managed to enter the house and place the father and two children under control.

The mother locked herself inside a room, poured gasoline all over the floor and threatened to light up the place, forcing authorities to retreat.

A photo was later posted online showing the 13-year-old daughter being handcuffed by one hand into the bench at the police station, sparking criticism against officers’ excessive use of force on a child.

A 13-year-old girl is seen with one of her hands handcuffed to a bench at a police station in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam in this photo posted online.
A 13-year-old girl is seen with one of her hands handcuffed to a bench at a police station in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam in this photo posted online.

According to Nguyen Duc, a lawyer from Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association who cited a 2012 circular, handcuffs and other “support equipments” including tasers, truncheons and tear gas are not allowed for use on women, the disabled and children unless the subjects use weapons, explosives and other tools to attack and threaten the well-being of others.

Nguyen Xuan Hoang, police chief of Phuoc Nguyen Ward, told the press on Thursday that officers indeed used handcuffs to restrain three members of the family, including the 13-year-old girl, to prevent them from harming themselves and others.

They were released the same day after a brief questioning at the police station, he said.

Meanwhile, the father, Nguyen Van Dang, claimed that his daughter has been having nightmares and traumatic stress since the incident.

The residence in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam where authorities wanted to clear for a project to build a public park. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The residence in Ba Ria City, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam where authorities wanted to clear for a project to build a public park. Photo: Tuoi Tre

On Friday, a group of Phuoc Nguyen Ward leaders, headed by chairman Bui Anh Quang, came to the family’s residence to apologize for handcuffing their daughter.

“The officers made a mistake by using handcuffs on the girl, and I would like to make an official apology on behalf of the entire administration to the family,” Quang said.

Quang said strict disciplinary actions would be taken against the violating officers after an internal investigation.

However, the girl’s parents have refused to accept the apology and said they would file a formal complaint against the act.

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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