Cops nab child molest suspect


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 23 Jan 2018

Despicable act: A still from the video showing the suspect touching the girl at the funfair in Taman Ria, Sungai Petani

SUNGAI PETANI: The man who allegedly molested a seven-year-old girl at a funfair here has been arrested.

It was an utter betrayal of trust – he was known to her family and said he was taking her out for a quick trip to buy food – only to be caught on camera touching her inappropriately. Police managed to track him down and arrest him at 3.10pm yesterday.

The suspect, a factory worker in his 40s, will be remanded today under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.

Police, however, declined to reveal where he was arrested although it is believed that he is one of the neighbours.

In the grainy 20-second clip, which went viral on social media, a young girl is sitting on the lap of a man as loud thumping music plays in the background.

The girl’s face can be clearly seen, and she is shown evading one of the man’s two attempts to kiss her on the cheek.

But a closer look at the footage shows a more insidious act taking place – the man has his right hand beneath the girl’s red dress and is fondling her chest.

The video, which was posted on Facebook, stated that the incident took place at a funfair in Taman Ria, Sungai Petani in Kedah, at 11.30pm on Saturday.

It is learnt that the man had picked the girl up at 11pm from her family home in Sungai Lalang on the pretext of taking her out to buy food from Bandar Baru Sungai Lalang nearby.

He only returned with the girl two hours later, at about 1am.

The man went back to the house at about 11.30pm on Sunday – after the video clip had gone viral – and was confronted by the girl’s mother.

Kuala Muda police chief Asst Comm Saifi Abdul Hamid said based on a police report lodged by the mother at 2.52am yesterday, the man had admitted to the act, apologised and left the house.

He added that the victim has been taken to hospital for a check-up.

Datin Che Nariza Hajjar Hashim, the president of children’s rights group Protect and Save the Child­ren, said the man’s actions constituted a sexual touch and were inappropriate and unacceptable.

“The right of the child to be protected has been violated.

“The focus is always on the protection of the child, not sharing or sensationalising the video,” she said.

Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul said a police report should be lodged immediately in such instances.

“The police should investigate under the Act that protects minors, or any other laws,” he said.

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