Charity boss held in abuse probe

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2011, 12:00am


The owner of Shenzhen's Family of Love charity house, once named a 'civilised citizen' and 'ambassador of love' by the city, has been accused of sexually abusing a girl aged nine.

Zhang Haiwen, 56, was arrested by police from Shenzhen's Daliang police station, local media reported yesterday. Zhang, a native of Zaoyang in Hubei, is accused of molesting the young girl taken in by the homeless shelter two weeks ago. She had run away from home after her father remarried.

The media reports said the girl was allegedly molested by Zhang on several occasions during her 10-day stay at the shelter.

She was found roaming the streets again around 2.30am on Saturday by residents of the Henglang neighbourhood in Shenzhen's Baoan district.

The girl, who appeared emotionally unstable, was handed over to the police and refused to return to the shelter. It was reported that medical examinations showed signs she had been sexually molested. Zhang has denied any wrongdoing.

The girl will be placed in a hostel while police search for her guardian.

According to media reports, the Family of Love is an officially registered non-government organisation and receives funding from the Baoan district government. It was set up by Zhang in 2003, four years after he began providing more than 1,000 homeless and destitute people with temporary shelter and food.

In 2003 he was named an 'ambassador of love' and one of the city's '10 favourite loving people'.

In 2007 he was recognised as a Shenzhen 'civilized citizen' and one of Baoan district's '10 best moral models'.

A spokesman for Shenzhen's Civil Affairs Bureau said Zhang had done a lot for the homeless shelter and it would continue to operate.