Sat, 21 Feb 2004

Five pedophiles escape Bali after media hype

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali

A senior police officer revealed on Friday that five suspected pedophiles had left the resort island of Bali, following the arrest of a former Australian diplomat last month on charges of molesting two local children.

Sr. Comr. Boy Salamuddin, the director of Bali Provincial Police criminal investigation division, admitted that the suspects fled Bali due to poor police intelligence work.

"The fled Bali after the local press made the arrest of former diplomat, William Brown headline news," he said.

All the suspects are foreign nationals and believed to be members of an international pedophile network that preys on local children, particularly those from destitute areas in the island's eastern and northern mountainous regions.

"They have left Bali and we have not been able to determine their whereabouts yet," he said on the sidelines of a workshop on pedophilia coorganized by Bali Provincial Police and the Committee Against Sexual Abuse (CASA).

CASA is a local forum dedicated to preventing the sexual exploitation of the island's children.

Separately, Bali Police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Teguh Soedarsono stated that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had assigned Paul Honniford, a senior officer from AFP's sexual exploitation and trafficking team, to train local police on how to tackle and investigate pedophile cases.

"The officer has been closely monitoring the development of William Brown's case. He has also been assisting investigators in preventing similar crimes from taking place in the future considering the fact that this island is regularly visited by a large number foreign tourists, including pedophiles," he said.

The AFP has also sent two other senior officers, Grant Edward and Michael Kelsey, who had shared their experience in handling pedophilia cases to the workshop's participants.

"Indonesian Law still treats pedophile cases as an ordinary sexual crime, while there is a good probability that the victim will perpetuate the crime when they reach adulthood," he said.

The workshop, Teguh stated, had provided the police officers with information and knowledge that would help them in providing the public with appropriate and adequate measures to confront pedophilic crimes.