US child rape suspect held in HK

US seeks extradition of one of its most wanted fugitives after 13-month manhunt.

    Freeman, centre, was driven to court
    wearing a black hood [Reuters]
    Freeman had been charged with child rape in Washington state and released on bond in December 2005.
    He subsequently fled the country after federal charges of producing and distributing child pornography were brought in early 2006.

    Freeman had been the subject
    of a world-wide manhunt

    The video of Freeman and his young daughter was one of the most widely downloaded child pornography videos in recent years, US law enforcement officials said.
    He was believed to have been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou for a US-based firm.
    Chinese authorities were informed about Freeman and agreed to help US investigators.
    China and the United States do not have an extradition treaty but one is in place between the United States and Hong Kong, which was signed in 1996 and has remained in force after the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.
    When US investigators learned in late April that Freeman intended to travel to Hong Kong they informed police in the territory who arrested him shortly after he crossed the border.
    Freeman's lawyer said no request for bail he been made at Thursday's hearing and his client would appear in court again on July 3.
    Freeman faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if returned to the US and convicted.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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