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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK
US child rape suspect in HK court
Kenneth Freeman wears a hood, centre, as he attends a Hong Kong court hearing on 4 May 2007
Mr Freeman, centre, had his face covered as he attended court
One of America's most wanted suspected sex offenders has appeared before a court in Hong Kong for the start of extradition proceedings.

Kenneth Freeman, 45, was arrested as he crossed into the territory from mainland China earlier in the week.

He is accused of raping his daughter and posting a video of the attack on the internet.

Officials in Hong Kong said Mr Freeman planned to challenge the US extradition request.

This could delay the extradition process for months, senior detective inspector Tobi Lothian from Hong Kong police was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

The case was adjourned until 3 July for another hearing.

Charges

Mr Freeman, described as a keen bodybuilder and computer expert, fled the US in 2006, months after his daughter made allegations that he had assaulted her four years earlier.

She appeared on the TV show America's Most Wanted to talk about the case.

Undated photo of Kenneth Freeman, provided by the US Marshals Service
US officials had to wait until Mr Freeman left China to arrest him

Tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children after the programme helped identify the girl as the victim in a series of child pornography videos, according to the US Marshals Service.

The footage is among the most widely downloaded child pornography videos in recent years, officials said.

Mr Freeman had been charged with child rape in Washington state and faced US federal charges of producing child pornography videos before he fled the country.

A world-wide manhunt tracked Mr Freeman to China, where he is thought to have been working for a US-based company.

Because the US does not have an extradition agreement with Beijing, investigators had to wait until Mr Freeman left for a trip to Hong Kong, where such an agreement does exist, to arrest him.

His arrest was welcomed by Chris Peale, stepfather of the now 17-year-old daughter, who told a news conference, "without her strength and conviction, this would never have happened".

"We're rejoicing today. An awful man, an evil man has been captured," he told the Associated Press.




SEE ALSO
US rape suspect held in Hong Kong
03 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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