Vietnamese authorities arrived in Cambodia yesterday to investigate a horrific child torture case that made global headlines after the abuse was broadcast on social media in December.
Vietnamese national Nguyen Tangdung fled Cambodia but was apprehended in Ho Chi Minh City on December 7 on suspicion of filming abuses he allegedly committed against a 2-year-old child.
James McCabe, of the Child Protection Unit, said a Vietnamese team of detectives and a prosecutor would travel to Mondulkiri today to take statements from witnesses and speak to the toddler’s family.
“The final jurisdiction hasn’t been decided yet … It’s an ongoing investigation and final charges haven’t been laid,” McCabe said.
He said the penalties for the crimes, if prosecuted in Cambodia, could total 30 years, though the maximum sentence for child torture is three years in Vietnam.
“There’s nothing that equates to male rape with an object in Vietnam’s law,” McCabe said, adding that Vietnamese authorities were considering other charges that could increase the potential jail time.
“I credit the Vietnamese for taking interest and cooperating with the police, for the prompt way they made the arrest and the meticulous investigation,” he said.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said that while an extradition request was filed, it was “impossible that [Vietnam] will extradite its citizen”.
Tangdung’s Dutch boyfriend, Stefan Struik, remains in Mondulkiri prison after his arrest in connection with the case.