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December 27, 2011

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Missing teen girl's 'friend' haunts dad

HUANG Zongjin, a father trying to find his 14-year-old missing daughter for three months, was convinced by the police yesterday that the girl wanted to leave home and was not kidnapped by a strange man Huang suspected.

Although Huang Xiaofang has not been heard from since September, Songjiang police think the girl is in the city, they said yesterday.

A man surnamed Peng, a labor contractor at a construction site near Huang's home in the city's Songjiang District, was the man who took Huang's daughter away and caused the girl to leave home, Huang insisted yesterday. But Huang also admitted that his daughter had refused to come to the city with him and his wife early in the year and was unhappy with life.

Peng, in his 40s, had been a "close friend" of Huang's daughter and two of her classmates, each about 10 years old, since last year, a fact that remained a secret until Huang's daughter went missing, Huang said.

"He's a freak who often kissed and touched my daughter," Huang angrily told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

He said his daughter's classmates told him about the man.

Girl went on own

The disappearance happened on September 24 when Huang Xiaofang asked Peng to take her away, police said.

"She said she didn't want to stay at home according to two of her best friends," said an officer surnamed Wang.

Peng's "making friends with teenage girls" attracted police attention but the current evidence was not sufficient for any charges to be filed against him, said Wang.

Peng, who used to take the three girls to school, pick them up and give them allowances, stopped hanging around with the other two girls after the incident, but the episode has opened a window into a common problem at schools like Shanrong Primary School.

Most parents of children there are migrant workers who leave for work early in the morning and come back late at night. They have no time to send or pick their children up from school, leaving them open to potential predators.

Huang said his daughter met Peng on her way to school one morning last year and Peng gave her 50 yuan (US$7.90)just for giving him directions. Peng became a friend to Huang's daughter and the two other girls and the four hung out a lot, Wang said.


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