HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – Police stopped an illegal marriage brokering event were many women were being paraded before a group of South Korean men.
The police filed an information report on the spot on 11 people: five prospective husbands,two South Korean brokers, one interpreter, one Vietnamese driver and two Vietnamese organizers of the event.
All 11 people and 161 women, 18 to 26 years of age, mainly from poor Mekong Delta provinces, were in custody at the city’s District 8 police station.
The parade was organized in the early hours of the morning by 34-year-old Phung Bich Thoo of District 1 and 39-year-old Huynh Xuan Phu of District 11, police said, alleging they had rented a house on Cao Lo Street in District 8’s Ward 4 for the purpose.
Police said Thao became a marriage broker early this year and had scored two successes already. She would have received more than $2,000 from each marriage this time.
Since 2006, Phu has arranged marriages between South Korean men and 17 women from the Mekong Delta area. It was he who rented the house this time for $208 and arranged for the women to come, police said.
All five South Korean men are poor farmers and workers and some had borrowed money from the brokers to take part in the event, police said. They are investigating the case further.
South Korean authorities in mid-June launched a crackdown on illegal matchmaking, seeking to reduce a trend that has led to divorces, cases of spousal abuse and suicides.
They also have started a program to help foreign brides settle in South Korea, where 11 percent of marriages were interracial last year — a rate that reached 40 percent among farmers and fishermen, according to a report.
Statistics from South Korea showed that there were more than 10,000 Vietnamese brides in the country last year, up 74 percent from the previous year.