Police must refocus their resources to prevent sexual crimes against children
3 June 2016
Lawyers for Liberty is shocked at news reports of Richard Huckle, currently undergoing sentencing hearing in the UK over charges of sexually abusing children, many of them believed to be from poor communities in Kuala Lumpur. It was also reported that Huckle is believed to have abused up to 200 children between 2006 and 2014 and has admitted to over 70 offences of sexual abuse of children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years.
It is disturbing that sexual abuses against minors of such magnitude took place for several years in our own backyard and remain either undetected or unstopped by our authorities. The high number of Huckle’s victims and the extent of his crimes in Malaysia raises serious questions as to whether our authorities were really in the dark over these abuses. Were there no warning signs or complaints at all from the victims and family members, churches, NGOs or hospitals?
It is quite shocking that our authorities do not appear to have any knowledge of Huckle’s extensive crimes in Malaysia, particularly since he was under surveillance for some time by the UK and Australian authorities due to his extensive exploitative postings on the Internet. Since the victims were largely Malaysians, was there no cooperation at all between international law enforcement agencies and PDRM over such serious crimes that he was only arrested when he returned to the UK?
We have repeatedly called upon the authorities to focus on tackling serious crimes on the Internet, and nothing is more serious than sexual crimes against minors. We again urge the authorities to refocus their resources on tackling real crimes instead of being more concerned with policing social media users over frivolous comments, even going so far as to apprehend critics at sea.
The authorities must immediately provide the public with an explanation over the apparent lack of investigation, action or public warning over Huckle’s crimes. In addition, the authorities must also reveal the efforts taken to protect the victims and prevent future similar crimes. Any attempt at downplaying the seriousness of these crimes must not be tolerated, particularly since the victims are of a segment of society that is vulnerable and largely voiceless.
Sexual abuse of any persons is not a private matter to be dealt with privately, but a matter of national concern. We call upon the authorities to conduct immediate and serious investigations on these crimes and further come up with better preventive mechanisms in order to ensure a safer environment for children.
Lawyers for Liberty