Women’s ministry to probe Huckle case, sets up info hotline

Rohani urged Malaysians to help the local authorities put a stop to further exploitation of children here. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Rohani urged Malaysians to help the local authorities put a stop to further exploitation of children here. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said today it will compile information on Richard Huckle’s case before taking further action, after it was revealed in the UK yesterday that the British paedophile raped scores of children over an eight-year period in Malaysia.

In a statement, minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the hotline “Kasih 15999” has also been set up for the public to provide information regarding the case, which has raised questions here over how Huckle had escaped detection for so many years.

“KPWKM will obtain official information from all the agencies involved before taking stern action in accordance with Malaysian law,” she said, without elaborating. KPWKM is the ministry’s Bahasa Malaysia acronym.

“KPWKM has set up the Kasih 15999 hotline for the public to channel any information regarding this case. I also hope that all parties give consideration to the sensitivities of the victims and families involved,” she added.

The minister expressed shock and disappointment on the matter, acknowledging that Huckle had allegedly committed the crimes while hiding under the guise of a charitable volunteer worker.

She urged Malaysians to help the local authorities put a stop to further exploitation of children here, also highlighting the government’s bid to establish a registry for sex offenders.

“I urge all levels of society including parents and guardians, together with ministry officials and all government agencies to work together to ensure the safety of children in Malaysia,” she said.

UK media reported yesterday that Huckle, 30, is facing several life sentences for the sexual abuse of babies and children aged between six months and 12 years from 2006 to 2014.

Huckle, who is believed to have abused up to 200 children, reportedly admitted 71 of 91 charges related to 23 girls and boys that included rape and sexual assault. Twenty-two children are reportedly from mainly impoverished Christian communities in Kuala Lumpur, where he posed as an English teacher and Christian philanthropist, while one is Cambodian.

UK broadcaster Sky News reported that Huckle, whose computer allegedly had over 20,000 indecent images of children, had helped teach at schools and churches in Malaysia and was sometimes employed for private tuition in his victims’ homes.

It is unknown which churches Huckle, who lived permanently in Malaysia from 2011 until December 2014 when he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in the UK, reportedly worked with.

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