The Family Court and Australian Federal Police have issued an urgent appeal for information about a toddler whose parents claim to have “given him away” to a stranger in a Sydney coffee shop.
Hoang Vinh Le, who is now 17 months old, has not been seen since April 2021.
Police said Vinh was removed from the care of his maternal grandmother in Canberra by his parents, Hoang Thanh Le and Lyn Kim Do on April 9.
The little boy, then about 10 months old, was last seen at a Canberra medical practice that day. Police say he was spotted being put into a silver ISUZU, with the NSW registration CF72YI.
Weeks later, the court ordered Vinh be returned to his grandmother. That order was not complied with, and Ms Le and Mr Do were arrested in May.
They have since told police that about May 19, they gave the baby to a woman they met at coffee shop, along with $200 cash to care for him.
They gave her name as “Kathy Nguyen”. But authorities have been unable to find the woman, or even verify that she exists.
The AFP said Ms Le and Mr Do had not provided enough information for them to identify who is caring for the toddler, and authorities are concerned for his welfare.
It is normally illegal to identify children who might be victims of crime in NSW. But the court has allowed publicity in Vinh’s case, in the hope the public can help find out where he is.
Police say Vinh is thought to have likely been in Sydney or regional NSW since he vanished. Possible areas include Cabramatta/Bankstown, Liverpool, West Wylong, Temora and Wagga Wagga.
Anyone with information about Vinh is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, quoting AFP reference 6365180.
Police warn that anyone who knowingly withholds information about the welfare or whereabouts of the child may contribute to an offence.