Saturday, January 31, 1998

Stewart Bell

p. A1.

RCMP says ministry failed to help girls

RCMP claimed Friday the children and families ministry failed to help four young girls, one aged 12, after the children were apprehended during a child pornography bust in Richmond.

As a result of the ministry's failure to act, police said, the girls were allowed back on the street at 4 a.m. with no supervision.

"We had considerable and lengthy contact with [the ministry] that morning," said Sergeant Willy Laurie. "The ministry ... decided they had no grounds to step in. That issue has been raised with the ministry."

The children were taken into custody on the night police arrested Frank Kim at his Richmond home on child sex and porn charges. Some of the girls were found at his home.

They were taken to the Richmond detachment but left on their own at about 4 a.m.

Richmond RCMP said they tried every possible means to keep the youths at the police station until ministry staff arrived, but "in the end these four girls said they're not sticking around any more."

They said they did not have the authority to detain the girls.

"The police have raised concerns about what happened that night and we want to look at it," said communications officer Chris Ewasiuk. "We have some concerns the children were released."

p. A2.

Police say they couldn't prevent girls from leaving

Ministry officials want to meet with RCMP "as quickly as possible," Ewasiuk said.

"The police have brought the issue to our attention that seems to be a breakdown in communication here and that seems to be a serious concern," he said.

"We want to talk with them about that in more detail and if there's a problem that needs to be ironed out we want to do that."

Kim, 24, has been charged with 17 offences, including sexual assault, making child pornography videos, possession of child porn, procuring a person under the age of 14 for sex and possession of a weapon.

He was released on bail Jan. 5 and ordered to hand over his passport and stay away from the Broadway and Fraser area of Vancouver.

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Created: March 21, 1998
Last modified: April 5, 1998

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