Accused claim noble intentions in adoption scam

Date: 2009-09-23

Medical and charity officers in Nam Dinh told the court on Tuesday they faked documents to have children adopted for their own good, but their contention was rejected by the judges.

LookAtVietnam - Medical and charity officers in Nam Dinh Province told the court on Tuesday they faked documents to have children adopted for their own good, but their contention was rejected by the judges.

On the first day of the hearing held by the province’s People’s Court, Vu Dinh Khan, director of the Truc Ninh District Social Welfare Center, said the center was “helping people in difficult situation” when receiving babies from mothers with unwanted pregnancy.

But the panel of judges said the center was set up only for orphans, the disabled, homeless elders and those with mental problems.

On the accusation of having the children, confirmed by the court as numbering 222, adopted by foreigners for a price, Khan blamed his deputy Truong Van Phuc, who escaped after the ring was busted last July and is wanted by the police.

According to the indictment filed at the court, Khan had negotiated with 50 mothers with unwanted pregnancies, sending them to medical centers across the district and having them leave the babies for the center to take care of.

He paid each mother VND800,000-1.5 million (US$45-84) and bribed birth registration officers by up to VND4 million to fake documents to make it look like the children were abandoned.

Vu Dinh Ky
, head of a medical center in Nam Truc District, was paid VND28 million to fake documents for 14 babies.

Ky told the court he had known “it’s wrong to fake the papers but it was just to help the babies.”

He had no answers, however, when he was asked if would have done that without any money paid to him.

Sixteen health staff and charity workers involved in the ring have been charged “abusing power on duty” for cooperating with each other to fake documents for the purpose, earning millions of dong each from 2005 to July 2008.

The accused are former employees of medical centers, the center for children with difficulties in Y Yen District, and the Social Welfare Center of Truc Ninh District.

Tran Thi Luong, director of two charity organization in Y Yen, also stands in the dock.

Eighteen members of the ring have been indicted and the police have put out a warrant for two people who escaped after the ring was busted.

The hearing is expected to last for one week and prosecutors have suggested jail terms of five to ten years to each person involved.

VietNamNet/Thanh Nien

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