A man who purportedly molested a little girl in an apartment elevator in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this week is a former high-ranking official of the People’s Procuracy in the central city of Da Nang, a source close to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper confirmed.
Nguyen Huu Linh, 61, a resident of Hai Chau District, Da Nang, retired as deputy head of the municipal People’s Procuracy in June last year.
Linh spent 33 years working in the procuracy sector until his retirement in June 2018, according to information obtained by Tuoi Tre reporters. He was also a member of a lawyer’s association within the Da Nang procuracy.
In the CCTV footage captured Monday night, a man who appears to be Linh can be seen grabbing and kissing a young girl, estimated to be somewhere between five- and seven-years-old at Galaxy 9 Apartment Complex in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.
The footage first catches the girl entering the elevator at around 9:10 pm, followed by Linh, who can be seen wearing a blue shirt and holding a smartphone.
As soon as the door closes, Linh approaches the child, puts his arm around her neck, and kisses her.
Afterwards, the girl moves towards the door, but Linh grabs her once again.
The moment the door opens, Linh lets go of the girl and she bolts away from the elevator as fast as she can.
Police officers were able to identify Linh, but not before he had already returned to Da Nang. He was visiting a relative who lives at Galaxy 9 on the day of the incident.
Linh returned to the southern metropolis on Wednesday to assist following a police request to cooperate with the investigation.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Police confirmed on the same day that officers are collecting statements from the victim, suspect, and relevant individuals and will make an announcement once a conclusion is reached.
Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper, a media outlet under the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Justice, reported on Wednesday that Linh had confirmed he was the man in the CCTV footage.
Phap Luat quoted the ex-procuracy official as saying that he was just “petting the young girl” and refused to provide further information.
In early March, a man was caught on camera forcefully hugging and kissing a 20-year-old girl inside an elevator in an apartment building in Hanoi.
He was eventually slapped with a VND200,000 (US$8.6) fine for “having offensive words and actions toward another person.”
In Linh’s case, however, legal experts believe a much harsher punishment could be handed down.
In Vietnam, molesting someone under 16-year-old is punishable by six months to three years in prison in accordance, experts stated.