A service station worker was arrested on Hong Kong Island before midnight on Friday over allegations he offered an eight-year-old girl money to follow him home.
Police caught the 21-year-old man, surnamed Sum, near a service station in Chai Wan.
He remained in police custody over loitering allegations, as officers investigated his motives.
The incident first came to light after the girl’s father filed a report with police on Wednesday evening.
The girl, a pupil at Chiu Sheung School in Pok Fu Lam, was on her way home alone to the Kwan Yick Building on Des Voeux Road West in Western district.
A police source said a young man was seen entering the building and its lift on the day.
The man was said to have exited the lift on the same floor as the girl, and waited for her to come out of her home again.
“He offered her HK$200 (US$26) to go to his home and play,” the source said, adding the girl ignored him and ran downstairs.
After being told of the incident, the father, 57, called police and officers launched a hunt for the man.
Chan Wing-yee, in charge of the police’s intelligence section in the Western district regional headquarters, said officers tracked the man down by reviewing security camera footage.
“After reviewing CCTV footage and questioning people in the neighbourhood, we successfully locked down the suspect’s identity … and learned that he works near Chai Wan,” Chan said.
Officers lay in wait for the man on Friday night before his shift started at the service station.
The incident prompted the girl’s school to tighten security and send parents a letter on Thursday warning about safety.
“We would like to draw the attention of parents to the safety of students after school and especially those who return home by themselves,” the letter read.
It also assigned teachers to patrol around the school and make sure pupils went home immediately.
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