Schools in Vientiane have tightened security after rumours have spread suggesting human organ traffickers are active in Laos.
The rumour – heavily circulated through social media, notably Facebook – suggested a group of organ traffickers has been kidnapping children and young adults to trade their organs.
An official from the Ministry of Public Security told Vientiane Times yesterday the ministry has not received any reports of kidnapping for human organ trafficking. But the ministry has already received a request recently issued by the Government Office to further investigate the issue.
“We can’t say right now if the rumour has grounds or is groundless. We are requesting guidance about further action from leading ministry officials,” the official said.
The rumour, which appeared on Facebook with pictures showing human bodies being operated on for organ taking, sparked fear among members of the public.
Many schools in the capital have exercised precautionary measures in light of the rumour.
Nirada, a private school that provides kindergarten through to secondary school education, is among the schools that have tightened security. School officials are now in the process of issuing ID cards for both students and parents and will soon require parents to show their ID cards when they pick up their children from school.
“Two weeks ago, we issued letters to parents requesting them to provide us photos in order to issue the ID cards,” a school official in charge of information provision told Vientiane Times . The school is expected to impose the use of the ID cards within the next month.
Last week, a kindergarten run by the Ministry of Education and Sports issued an announcement calling for parents’ cooperation to exercise precautionary measures. The school referred to the announcement from the Government Office.
The kindergarten’s announcement stated that where possible it should be either the children’s father or mother who drops them to and from school in an effort to increase certainty among staff.
Many others schools in Vientiane were also reported to be exercising precautionary measures.
Recently a similar rumour, which was later confirmed as false by authorities, suggested schoolchildren in southern Saravan province were being kidnapped by human organ traffickers.
The rumour triggered panic and fear among members of the public, causing district authorities to issue an announcement stating that there was no basis to the rumours.
Source: Vientiane Times