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Cablegate: Sexual Abuse Case of Vietnamese Workers In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002060

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV; INL/AAE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PREL PINS TW VM HUMANR ASEAN
SUBJECT: SEXUAL ABUSE CASE OF VIETNAMESE WORKERS IN
TAIWAN

1. (U) Summary: The GVN responded energetically to
reports in the press of abuse of Vietnamese women who
were sexually abused after traveling to Taiwan as
overseas laborers. The GVN demanded investigation and
follow-up by Taiwan authorities and ordered a review of
all cases involving the offending labor recruiter in
Taiwan. The case was widely covered in the Vietnamese
media. End Summary.

CASE BACKGROUND
---------------

2. (U) According to the Ho Chi Minh City-based "Tuoi Tre"
("Youth") newspaper (owned by the Communist Youth
League), a father, his son and a Vietnamese interpreter
in Taiwan were arrested in July on charges of rape and
sexual assault. Hung Ching-chang, the 70 year-old
father, and Hung Minh-yu, the 48 year-old son and manager
of an overseas labor recruitment agency in Taiwan,
allegedly assaulted at least 20 Vietnamese women who were
seeking work as maids, while claiming to conduct
"physical examinations." When the case came to light,
the accused forced the women to sign documents stating
that they were not sexually harassed during their stay in
Taiwan. In addition, each victim was paid USD 2,000 to
remain silent about the case. Some of the victims
contacted authorities anyway. If found guilty, the men
could face up to ten years' imprisonment.

GVN'S RESPONSE
--------------

3. (U) The Government of Vietnam strongly (and publicly)
"condemned the immoral acts perpetrated against
Vietnamese guest workers in Taiwan," according to Deputy
Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen
Luong Trao. Vietnam asked the Taiwan authorities to
conduct a prompt investigation of the case, to bring the
offenders to trial and to provide timely and precise
information to the Vietnamese side, the Deputy Minister
said. Trao asked Taiwan to exercise measures to protect
the rights and interests of the victims in terms of
employment and income. These workers should be given
satisfactory compensation for their suffering and helped
to return to Vietnam if they wish, Trao told Taipei
officials during a working session with the Hanoi-based
Taipei Cultural and Economic Office. The GVN also
insisted that Taiwan "create favorable conditions" for
the Taipei-based Vietnam Cultural and Economic Office to
provide consultancy services to the victims.

4. (U) Vietnam's labor export agencies will stop working
with some Taiwanese brokers, said an official from the
Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs
(MOLISA). Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, Deputy Director of the
Department for Guest Workers Management, announced the
policy recently after a delegation of the Department's
trade union finished a working session with responsible
agencies in Taiwan on the sexual abuse case at Zhongyou
Recruitment Company. According to Quynh, his agency has
asked Vietnamese businesses and labor export agencies to
review the operations of Taiwanese partner brokers and
stop any partnerships with those agencies that are found
to have failed to protect the Vietnamese guest workers'
legitimate rights.

TAIWAN'S RESPONSE
-----------------

5. (U) In response to the public statements and private
meetings, Taipei representatives told Deputy Minister
Trao that Taiwan considers the case a serious one, and
that Taiwan police are conducting an intensive
investigation in order to bring the offenders to justice
quickly. Taiwan labor agencies are carrying out measures
to protect the rights of Vietnamese guest workers in
Taiwan, they said. They promised publicly to inform
Vietnamese officials of the results of the investigation
and how the case is handled. Quynh acknowledged the
Taiwanese authorities' "cooperative attitude and firm
measures" in resolving the case. The Taiwan authorities
are collecting evidence to bring suspects to justice and
protect the legitimate rights of the victims, said
sources from MOLISA.

6. (U) "We shall apply severe punishment toward bad
brokers" Luu Vi Nhan, Head of Taiwan's Overseas Labor
Board, said in a public statement. According to Nhan,
Taiwanese authorities must terminate operations by
Zhongyou and other "bad brokers." Concerning this
particular case, authorities in Taiwan will review all
companies who used Zhongyou's services to find out about
other possible abuse cases.

7. (U) COMMENT: The substantial media coverage given to
this case initially caused us to worry that other abuse
cases were occurring in Taiwan or elsewhere that we were
not hearing or reading about. However, consultations
with MOLISA officials and journalists have satisfied us
that there have not been similar cases in the last year.
Most of the problems that Vietnam's labor export industry
has confronted recently, especially in Taiwan, Japan and
Korea, have involved Vietnamese workers who break their
contracts and disappear into the illegal labor markets.
Combating this problem, which the GVN fears will cause
Vietnamese laborers to be less popular in export markets,
requires the GVN to undertake unpopular enforcement
actions against its own citizens. Consequently, MOLISA
and the GVN seized on the opportunity this case presented
to demonstrate that they are as enthusiastic about
protecting Vietnamese workers as they are about
protecting the prerogatives of the labor-consuming
countries and businesses.

MARINE

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