Vietnamese woman ‘pays friend to cut off limbs’ to claim insurance payout’

A Vietnamese woman paid her friend to cut off her foot and a section of her arm as part of an insurance scam, police have said.

The 30-year-old named, as “Ly Thi N”, claimed she had been hit by a train in order to claim more than $150,000 from her health insurance company.

But following a three month investigation by police, it emerged she had paid a friend, named as “Doan Van D”, $2,200 (£1,660) to severe off her limbs in May.

“Doan Van D” then called an ambulance and pretended to “discover” her injured on a railway in Hanoi.

The woman was taken to hospital where doctors concluded it would be impossible to re-attach her limbs.

“N hired D to cut her hand and foot, then continued to have him report false information to the police,” Bac Tu Liem police chief, Nguyen Thanh Tung, told Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre on Tuesday.

“The greatest shame is that N, instead of claiming the money, has suffered a huge loss by losing both her hand and foot.

“Her case sends a warning that people should not attempt insurance fraud at the expense of their own health.”

Mr Tung said it was the first time he had ever come across such an insurance scam.

A source told Vietnamese newspaper Thanh Nien, that “Ly Thi N” had sought the payout after incurring losses in her business.

Pictures published in local media appear to show the woman three months after the incident with her wounds healed.

The case has ignited debate on social media in Vietnam, with some users railing at the danger she caused herself and others expressing sympathy for her desperate situation.

User Hoa Nguyen said: “How destitute must a person be to do such a thing?”

Police have dropped a criminal investigation against the suspects, the Tuoi Tre reports.

Le Van Luan, of the Hanoi Bar Association, told the BBC, a “new article” in Vietnamese law is needed for “this kind of fraud”, as under the country’s penal code it would be difficult to charge the pair.