Monday, January 16, 2006

Work Permits and Sex Offenders

... However to muddy the waters still further, today I've just learned that VATC has had, and I quote: "2 teachers arrested and 20 deported" for not having a work permit that is extremely difficult to obtain in so short a time. This information is unconfirmed but has been given to me in good faith. The thought of being detained (and ultimately fined) in a country like Vietnam is, how shall I say, unappealing.

There is a hanging pall of uncertainty and fear in Saigon at the moment. I don't want to be around to be detained, questioned and fined, then told to leave, never to return. Next week is the last I shall teach in Vietnam, barring some significant sea-change in the way Vietnam views it's foreign resources...

Proffeshnial Teachman - "How can Vietnam pay ESL teachers so much?" - ESL Cafe - Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:38 pm

At 16:30 on January 3rd, Peter Mueller was escorted by Vietnamese police to HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport and transferred to Austrian authorities who will take him home. All of Mueller’s possessions were also transferred to Austrian authorities. Peter Mueller of Bradford, 69, was arrested in HCM City under a wanted notice from Interpol for child sex abuse.

During his time in Vietnam, Mueller appeared to carry-on a normal life. He participated in social activities, and he taught English at the Vietnam-America Training School. However, he also allegedly engaged in unlawful acts with minors and reportedly enticed several disadvantaged children to live with him.

According to police, Mueller molested at least five Vietnamese boys while in Vietnam. When he was arrested on December 26, he was found living with a 14-year-old boy in a hired room in HCM City’s District 1.

In early 2003, Mueller was prosecuted by Austrian police for "child abuse". In October 2005, Interpol issued a special wanted notice for Mueller for child sex abuse.

VietNamNet Bridge - "Sex offender extradited to Austria" 11:17' 04/01/2006 (GMT+7)

[Mueller] worked at VATC. A friend of mine worked there with him at one time and says he;s a horrible person. I was interested in the quality of his English as a non-native, to be teaching (also as a measure of a school!) and friend said 'not good enouogh to be teaching'.

I think these articles are a good thing, as there are a lot of these animals around (really, a lot) and it appears for years the people of Vietnam have, in general, been completely naiive to it. Obviously with so much poverty here, a lot of people are grateful for money however they can get it, and this scum abuses this desperation.

These two have been addressed because a) Glitter was hounded from his house by British paparazzi; and b) Interpol told VN authorities to look out for Mueller.

I can think of at least 3 or 4 people who I know have abused minors in Vietnam. One of them I challenged in a cafe, as I had been involved with one of the victims, in a counselling role. I later found out from a friend who knew someone in the relevant consulate that this character had a history of drug and alcohol related violence. At that time he was teaching in a school much more reputable than VATC, let me say.

These scum should be named and shamed and the word out around the planet not to come here for nonsense like that.

Beer_Monster - "A teacher following the Glitter trail" - Mekong ESL - Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:06 am

...Here's exactly what's needed for work permits: completed work permit application; completed cirriculum vitae; completed local police record application and a completed Certification of Temporary Residence form (this involves the local police in whatever district you live in HCMC, not where you live overseas); three passport size color photos (without wearing glasses or a hat); medical exam certificate; copies of your degree and/or teaching certificate; properly authenticated criminal background check (I'll go into more detail about this below)...

Ryno - "Here's what you need to bring to work in VN" - ESL Cafe - Mon Oct 24, 2005 2:42 am

I'm 100% certain that Peter Mueller - known English teacher and child molestor - never had a work permit. A criminal background check would reveal his checkered past. His English appears to be mediocre, which would bar him from obtaining a decent teaching certificate like a CELTA. (I've done one. You have to be a very good English speaker to even enter the course.) That he was teaching English at all is a disgrace - but VATC - like many other schools - were pretty lax with this particular paperwork.

So I'm not surprised that they got the first crack of the government crackdown. Having a known paedophile working with you can damn you by association. But then, he's not the only sex offender here teaching ESL. (I've even heard rumours that Gary Glitter was teaching English in Vũng Tàu before his bust.) I doubt not that there's going to be more busts after this. 

UPDATE: After posting this (and a good nice's sleep afterwards), I fear I might have given the implication that the English teaching industry is swarming with pervs. That's not true at all. Most English teachers are fine, fine people. I work with them. I've worked with them. I am one.

But this government does not know that. The government has not borrowed a textbook, attended a seminar, or gone out for drinks afterwards - the sort of things that help you assay someone's character. All it can do is opt for background checks. Sadly, this will make a lot of teachers leave - but then again, there's a high turnover anyway. However, it will also make a lot of paedophile masquerading as teachers leave. That's a good thing. If the Vietnamese want to kick that sort of individual out of the country - who could blame them?