Individuals working at hospitals and clinics that refuse to give poor children health checks or treat their injuries - or those that charge above the regulated level - risk losing their work permits for three to six months.

They will faces fines of 5-10 million VND (240-480 USD).

The tougher regulations are contained in Government Decree 91 relating to violation of children's rights. The decree will take effect on December 2.

Under the old decree, the fine for refusing to check children's health was only 1-3 million VND (48-145 USD).

The highest punishment, 20-40 million VND (970-1,940 USD), will be imposed on people hiring children to sell fakes and tax-evading goods. The old fine was only 10-30 million VND (480-1,456 USD).

Parents and guardians who force children to wander to earn money by begging and other means can be fined 1-3 million VND (48-145 USD).

And anyone found beating or hurting children's mind and body will be fined up to 5 million VND (240 USD).

Forcing children to buy, hire, use or deliver toys or personal things that are violent, depraved or otherwise harmful can be fined 5-10 million VND (240-480 USD).

Bui Duc Phong, the Ministry of Health's deputy chief inspector, said the higher punishments were more suitable to present economic conditions.

Nguyen Minh Hue, the mother of a five-year-old girl, said so far no clinics or hospitals refused to give her daughter a health check and treatment, but anyhow, she felt more secure with the higher punishment./.