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Philanthropist arrested for alleged child molestation

(Global Times)

13:23, October 13, 2011

A love ambassador in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly molesting a 9-year-old runaway girl at his homeless shelter, arousing nationwide outrage and distrust of such kinds of charity organizations.

When police tried to take the girl, found on a street in Dalang community, to a "Love Home" on September 3, she said she had been there for 10 days, during which she was molested by the founder, Zhang Haiwen, several times.

Local police said the check-up results, physical evidence and the victim's accusations all indicate Zhang was involved in indecent conduct, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. Zhang was arrested and accused of child molestation.

The investigation is underway. The local procuratorate of Baoan district confirmed the arrest of Zhang to the Global Times on Wednesday. No other victims have come forward.

"We haven't found the girl's parents yet," said a Dalang community official to the Southern Metropolis Daily. Meanwhile, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Baoan District stressed the homeless girl would receive proper care.

The 56-year-old Zhang, a native of Hubei Province, established the non-governmental organization with his own money he earned from low-paying jobs, such as driving a tricycle, aiming to help immigrants in Shenzhen by offering them accommodations and help finding jobs.

Zhang started his charity career by helping a homeless young woman, and he has put his focus on unmarried mothers and marginal groups.

His actions have won him accolades in recent years, including Love Ambassador and one of the Top 10 Kind-hearted People of Shenzhen in 2003.

"We feel pity for Zhang. It is a shame that a charity organization leader has behaved improperly," said Fang Tao, secretary general of the Shenzhen Charity Federation, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

Yang Peng, head of the One Foundation, said to the Southern Metropolis Daily that the case will inevitably cast a shadow on the shelter. "It is hard for it to continue operations."

A volunteer at the Love Home said about the molestation case on the Sina microblog that the personal issue will not impact the volunteers' work.


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