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Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 15:21 UK

Vietnam baby fraud trial begins

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Sixteen people have gone on trial in Vietnam accused of committing fraud over the foreign adoption of more than 250 babies, a court official says.

Those charged are alleged to have solicited the babies from poor families or single mothers.

They then faked documents to say the infants were abandoned, making them eligible for adoption by foreign parents, prosecutors allege.

Doctors, nurses and the heads of social welfare centres were among the accused.

If found guilty of "abuse of power and authority", they could face between five and 10 years in prison.

They came from the province of Nam Dinh, south of Hanoi.

Chief judge Dang Viet Hung said the group sent 266 babies overseas for foreign adoption from 2005 to July 2008, when the scheme was discovered, according to the Associated Press news agency.

He did not know the countries of the adoptive parents.

The US embassy in Hanoi last year accused Vietnam of failing to police its adoption system, allowing corruption, fraud and baby-selling to flourish.



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SEE ALSO
Vietnam to end US adoption scheme
28 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Vietnam gang 'smuggled 30 babies'
09 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Cape Times16 charged with falsifying adoption papers in Vietnam - 33 hrs ago
The Independent 16 on trial for selling babies for adoption - 33 hrs ago
South China Morning PostSixteen on trial over Vietnamese adoption racket - 34 hrs ago
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