Pagoda baby sold for $2,100

Two women have been arrested for allegedly trafficking a child from an orphanage in a Hanoi pagoda famed for rescuing abandoned babies, Vietnamese state media said yesterday.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Trang, the 36-year-old manager of the orphanage in the capital's Bo De Pagoda, was picked up on Sunday pending a police probe into the trafficking of a one-year-old boy for US$1,700 (S$2,100), Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

Another woman, Pham Thi Nguyet, 35, was also nabbed, while three others have been questioned over the same allegation, the report added without clarifying their roles at the pagoda, reported AFP.

The duo were arrested following a tip-off from philanthropist Nguyen Thanh Long that the abandoned baby that he had been caring for was taken away.

Mr Long said he and his wife had been treating Cu Nguyen Cong, named by the pagoda, as their godson since late last year, reported Vietnamese news website Thanh Nien New.

The little boy was left at the gate of the pagoda soon after his birth last October.

The couple brought the baby home several days a week to take care of him.

On Dec 31, when the baby was with the couple, Trang asked them to bring the baby back as "some officials" were coming to visit the orphanage.

But when they returned four days later to take him for a regular health check-up, they were told the boy was no longer there.


Trang told them his mother had taken him home, but Mr Long doubted her story and notified the police.

Police officers later discovered that the boy was "in fact, trafficked" in exchange for US$1,700.

The probe is ongoing to identify if there were similar cases involving other orphans.

The Bo De Pagoda in Hanoi is renowned for its orphanage where dozens of abandoned children are cared for, including the disabled - from teenagers with Down Syndrome to blind babies.

This article was first published on August 5, 2014.
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