US child rape suspect to leave HK

One of the America's most wanted fugitives agrees to "voluntary" extradition.

    Freeman, centre, was seized by Hong Kong police after trying to cross the border from China [Reuters]

    Freeman, a former sheriff's deputy, wore handcuffs as he signed documents giving consent for his surrender to US authorities.


    Freeman had been the subject
    of a world-wide manhunt

    Described by the US Marshals Service as "one of the world's most notorious accused child molesters", Freeman fled his Seattle home in early 2006 soon after charges were brought against him.


    He was eventually traced to the Chinese city of Suzhou near Shanghai, but a lack of extradition treaty between the United States and China meant no action could be taken.


    Instead law US officials waited for him to leave China, organising a sting operation with Hong Kong police when he attempted to enter the territory in May this year.


    As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong has a separate judicial system that allows extraditions to the US.


    Freeman's lawyer, Giles Surman, said Freeman's consent to the extradition had "absolutely no bearing whatsoever on his innocence, he maintains his innocence".


    "We did not want a lot of the material that is or may be presented against him in court in the U.S. rehearsed here, where we don't have the benefit of questioning live witnesses," Surman said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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