Police hope to use Facebook to trace missing kids

ACP Ong Chin Lan

KUALA LUMPUR: Police are hoping to rope in Facebook to publish pictures of missing children.

ACP Ong Chin Lan, Principal Assistant Director with D11 Child Investigation Division, said a meeting will be held with Facebook representatives this September.

“We are hoping to have a missing child’s picture pop up on everyone’s Facebook. The pop-up can appear for 24 hours after a child is reported missing.

“Almost everyone is on Facebook. Even those who do not want to register will register to keep up with the times,” she said at a press conference at police headquarters in Bukit Aman today.

Other methods used by police at the moment are publishing pictures of missing children via RHB ATM machines nationwide and on its Nur Alert website.

Ong said about 2,000 children go missing every year, with almost 99% of them found.

In 2011, 1,859 children were reported missing (with 98% found), followed by 2,193 in 2012 (99% found), 2,054 in 2013 (99%), 2,015 in 2014 (97%) and 1,782 in 2015 (88%).

From January to May this year, 733 children were reported missing, with 59% of them later found.

Most of the teenagers reported missing were girls aged between 13 and 15, reported to have run away from home in search of freedom, or to live with a friend or lover.

Ong also spoke on paedophiles in Malaysia. She cited three cases where the suspects sexually abused children between the ages of 10 to 12. The majority of the victims were young boys.

The first involved a 63-year-old man who managed to gain the trust of the parents to look after their children.

“By the time police were tipped off, this man had several kids under his care.

“He kept the children naked in his condo to make it look like a normal thing. The kids were sodomised or performed oral sex on him.”

She said when the police interviewed him, he said he was sexually abused by his neighbour.

The second case was a 30-year-old engineer from Singapore who had sexually abused 31 children in Singapore and 15 children in Malaysia. Ong said he was sexually abused by his tuition teacher.

The third case was a woman who had raped a 18-year-old boy. It was her nephew’s classmate.

“I had told the victim to lodge a complaint or come and see me for counselling, but he did not come forward.

“It is a matter of pride for these boys. Many of them do not come forward and suffer in silence.”

Ong urged people to come forward to report to police, who had shelters for victims of rape and sodomy as well as counsellors for emotional support.

“Victims do not have to suffer in silence. The earlier they come forward, the better it is for them and everyone.”