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Hanoi officials resettle embattled pagoda's population of orphans, elderly and disabled
By Ha An - Thanh Nien News -

A nun from Bo De pagoda in Hanoi accompanies a group of boys bound for a government welfare center on August 22, 2014. Photo: Nam Anh

A nun at Bo De pagoda in Hanoi prepares a group of orphans to leave for a government welfare center after police declared the pagoda's unregistered orphanage to be in breach of logistical and healthcare standards. Photo credit: VnExpress

Tam Anh, who suffers from a skin disease, was brought from Bo De pagoda in Hanoi to a government welfare center on August 22, 2014. Photo credit: VnExpress 

 A boy looks back his former home at Bo De pagoda in Hanoi before leaving for a government welfare center. Photo credit: VnExpress

 A nun from Bo De pagoda in Hanoi cries as she accompanies children from its orphanage to their new home at a government welfare center. Photo credit: VnExpress

 A homeless woman who volunteers as a caretaker at the pagoda's orphanage. Photo credit: VnExpress


A child receives a check-up upon arrival at a government welfare center. Photo: VnExpress

A group of relocated children eat their first meal at a government welfare center on August 22, 2014. Photo credit: VnExpress

A former resident of Bo De pagoda drinks milk at his new home at a government welfare center. Photo credit: VnExpress 
Hanoi officials began relocating orphans and old people from a philanthropic pagoda to a government welfare center on Friday after finding the former suffered loose management and offered substandard healthcare.
Some of Bo De pagoda's nuns and volunteer caretakers wept as they accompanied 19 children and 13 elderly people to the Thuy An Center for the Elderly and Disabled Children in Ba Vi District. 
The move came on the heels of accusations of child trafficking, poor staff oversight and substandard healthcare at the pagoda's improvised orphanage and care center.
Early this month, Bo De was home to 135 people. Some were orphans, others were disabled or elderly. All felt they had no where else to turn.
A staff of 59 homeless people who lived at the pagoda, assisted the nuns in maintaining its facilities and conducting clerical work.
Until recently, the pagoda was best known for having sheltered orphans and abandoned children, including those born with HIV, since 1989.
It's reputation changed with the August 4 arrest of Nguyen Thi Thanh Trang, a formerly homeless single mother who helped manage the pagoda’s orphanage.
Police said Trang sold a child for VND35 million (US$1,650). The buyer, Pham Thi Nguyet, was also arrested but claimed that the 2-year-old boy was her husband’s illegitimate child.
The child died during the recent measles epidemic that swept through the capital.
Concerned donors and volunteers urged the police to compile a list of missing children after coming to suspect the pagoda of having been involved in a large-scale trafficking operation.
Colonel Nguyen Duy Ngoc, deputy chief of Hanoi police, dismissed those rumors last Tuesday, when he announced that most of the children had either been returned to their families, adopted or transferred to other pagodas.
However, he criticized the unregistered orphanage as failing to meet official requirements in terms of space, hygiene, equipment and proper staff training.
All of the pagoda’s beneficiaries are slated to be resettled at five government centers throughout the capital.