​Vietnamese couple, bullied online for 35-year age gap, accuse official of leaking marriage certificate

​Vietnamese couple, bullied online for 35-year age gap, accuse official of leaking marriage certificate

Trieu Hoa Cuong (L) gives his wife Le Thi Thu Sao a peck in this supplied wedding photo.

A couple from the northern Vietnamese province of Cao Bang has accused a local official of leaking their marriage certificate on social media, which led to them becoming a topic of discussion due to their 35-year age gap.

Le Thi Thu Sao, 61, and her husband Trieu Hoa Cuong, 26, demand that the official be held accountable for leaking their personal information online without their consent, causing them mental distress due to public criticism directed at their age difference.

According to the couple’s denunciation letter, they visited a local administrative office in Cao Bang’s namesake capital city on June 29 to register for marriage.

Their registration was processed by a justice official, who told them to return on July 2 to receive their marriage certificate.

However, as they were still waiting for the certificate to be issued, photos of it had already been circulating online, accompanied by a drove of insulting comments mocking their age difference.

Some social media users even suggested Cuong only married Sao for her fortune and that their marriage was not founded on true love.

The judgment and humiliation have caused the couple and their family members immense mental distress over the past days, they claim.

According to Sao, her ex-husband passed away seven years ago, and she started seeing Cuong in December 2017.

Sao said both her family and his had been supportive of their love, and that they plan to hold a wedding ceremony in August.

Bui Van Hiep, chairman of Song Bang Commune where the couple live, said on Saturday he had not been aware of the incident and promised to get back to the media once more details on the case are made available to him.

Hiep confirmed, nevertheless, that the couple’s marriage was consensual and in conformity with Vietnamese laws.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Hung, a lawyer from the Hanoi Bar Association, a marriage certificate is considered a citizen’s private information that is protected by law from unconsented access.

“Those who deliberately publicize such personal information without the owner’s permission can therefore be held accountable for privacy infringement and be subject to civil lawsuits,” Hung said.

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