Teacher diagnosed as paedophile abused four girls, court hears

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 December, 2009, 12:00am

A secondary schoolteacher who had previously been diagnosed as a paedophile sexually abused four girls he lured into photography sessions, a court heard yesterday.

Henry Chan, who created a collection of 1,615 pornographic images, met nine girls through model recruitment ads posted on the internet, the District Court heard. The victims, aged 12 to 15, met him at his home or in a hotel.

Chan, 32, admitted five charges of indecent assault, 12 charges of creating child pornography and one count of possession of child pornographic materials.

He pleaded not guilty to another five charges of indecent assault, with which the prosecution agreed not to proceed.

Prosecutor Catherine Ko Po-chui said Chan molested the four girls in May. Two of the incidents had taken place on the same day at Chan's home.

She said all victims were photographed between May 9 and 28, either in Chan's home in Tsuen Wan or in a hotel room. Some of them were paid HK$300 to HK$500 after they were photographed, Ko said.

Chan was arrested at his home on June 5 for creating child porn. In addition to the 1,615 pictures of the children, another 24 child-porn images were seized from his computer.

Chan's barrister, Peter Wong Ting-kwong, said his client was diagnosed many years ago as a paedophile who was attracted to young girls. But Chan, who had taught English in a secondary school since 1999, had no criminal record, the court heard.

District Court Judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi ordered a background report and a psychiatrist's report on Chan. He also asked to see a victims' impact report. He adjourned the case until January 18 for sentencing.

Linda Wong Sau-yung, executive director of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women, said it would be preferable for schools to have a system to screen out teachers who had a history of paedophiliac tendencies with no record of sexrelated crimes, but it would be difficult to put into practice as schools must intrude on a teacher's privacy to find out if they had such a tendency.

Koo Kam-wing, a sex therapist at Caritas Family Services, said the current system was geared towards identifying people who have already committed a sexual offence. 'Determining potential [to commit an offence], however, is very hard, and you cannot tell just by looking at someone's appearance,' he said.

Koo believes the city needs more discussion about sexual offenders and how to deal with offenders in sex-related crimes of varying seriousness. He does not have a fixed view on whether or how schools should screen out teachers with paedophiliac tendencies.

More important than the screening system was sex education, he said, noting that places with a greater degree of sex education have fewer sexual offences.