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In ‘heartfelt’ letter, wife of child molestation suspect says under 'unbearable pressure'

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 19:29 GMT+7
In ‘heartfelt’ letter, wife of child molestation suspect says under 'unbearable pressure'
A man erases the text 'child sex abuser' painted on the gate of the house of Nguyen Huu Linh in Da Nang, central Vietnam. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre

The wife of a Vietnamese man who is being investigated for child molestation has penned a ‘heartfelt’ letter describing how life has turned dark for her family after their husband and father was caught on camera groping and forcefully kissing a young girl in an apartment elevator.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday last week initiated legal proceedings against Nguyen Huu Linh, a former procuracy official in central Da Nang City, for molesting an under 16-year-old person.

The decision came 20 days after his alleged sexual abuse was caught on the CCTV of an elevator of the Galaxy 9 apartment building in the southern metropolis.

It has been 25 days since the case was first reported, a period Linh’s wife, Tran Thi Thanh Tan, described as being “the toughest and most painful time in my life.”

In a letter sent on Friday to Da Nang police, using the email account of her daughter , Tan said she and her children “have tried to deal with public pressure” during this tough time, but they are now “no longer able to do it anymore.”

The public had been pressing police to file charges against Linh, who retired as deputy head of the municipal People’s Procuracy in June last year, shortly after his alleged child molestation grabbed local headlines.

During the 20-day period when Linh had not been charged, his house in Da Nang were repeatedly smeared with paints and dirty substances. Someone also painted a large text reading ‘child sex abuse’ on his house’s metal fence gate.

The text 'child sex abuser' is seen painted on the gate of the house of Nguyen Huu Linh in Da Nang, central Vietnam. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre
The text 'child sex abuser' is seen painted on the gate of the house of Nguyen Huu Linh in Da Nang, central Vietnam. Photo: Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre

“These actions have made myself and my children ‘homeless’,” the wife said in her letter. “We were too frightened to return to our own house.”

Tan said the family had to temporarily move to a ‘safe place,’ fearing possible violence from the angry mob.

The wife acknowledged that what her husband did was wrong and extended her apologies, saying she is partly responsible for his mistake. “But my children and other family members have nothing to do with this,” she wrote.

She said it was like her family was given “a life sentence,” adding what happened is “a painful memory I would never in my life afford to forget.”

At the end of the letter, Tan sent her gratitude to Da Nang leaders and police for “enacting measures to ensure safety for my family.”

One day after sending the ‘heartfelt letter,’ Tan also filed an official denunciation against several individuals and organizations who had insulted and humiliated her and her family.

Tan reiterated how her house was defaced and smeared with paints and dirty substances, and how photos of herself and her children were shared on social media for public shaming.

Police in Hai Chau District said they had received the denunciation and will handle it as per regulations.

Month-long case

The child molestation suspect Linh has yet to be arrested, but he is required not to leave his place of residence. His wife mentioned nothing about his being charged in her letter to the police.

Molesting a person under 16 years old is a crime punishable by six months to three years in prison in accordance with Vietnam’s Penal Code.

A screenshot from CCTV footage shows Nguyen Huu Linh forcefully kissing a young girl in an elevator of the Galaxy 9 apartment complex in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City on April 1, 2019.
A screenshot from CCTV footage shows Nguyen Huu Linh forcefully kissing a young girl in an elevator of the Galaxy 9 apartment complex in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City on April 1, 2019.

The alleged sexual harassment occurred at around 9:10 pm on April 1 and was caught on CCTV installed in an elevator of the Galaxy 9 apartment building in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.

In the video, Linh can be seen grabbing and kissing a young girl, estimated to be somewhere between five and seven years old.

He was visiting a relative who lives at the apartment building on the day of the incident.

In a brief interview with Phap Luat Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper on April 4, Linh said he was just “petting the young girl” and refused to provide further information.

The management board of the Galaxy 9 last week submitted a petition to the municipal People’s Committee and People’s Procuracy, demanding that legal proceedings be launched against Linh.

The document had previously been signed by many people living at the apartment complex, as no update regarding Linh’s charges was announced at the time.

The identity of the child has not been revealed so far to protect her.

The family of the victim claimed they had reached a consensus with Linh so they did not want him to be criminally charged.

But the Vietnamese law allows police to overrule the family's desire to press charges against the suspect, given the clear video evidence.

A screenshot of the wife's letter.
A screenshot of the wife's letter

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