Indonesian police on July 9 announce the arrest of Francois Abello Camille (center in orange shirt) for raping 305 young girls in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Regional Police)
Indonesian police have arrested a French national who they claim sexually assaulted and raped up to 305 underage girls.
The arrest of Francois Camille Abello, 65, took place in a Jakarta hotel room in June following a tip-off from someone who had become suspicious of his activities.
Two young girls were found in the room with him, police said.
"He introduced himself as a photographer and promised the girls he would make them fashion models before sexually assaulting them,” Jakarta police chief General Nana Sudjana told reporters on July 9.
He said Abello would hunt for girls aged between 10 and 17 at shopping malls and along streets. He would then take them to a hotel where he had set up a studio to give the impression he was a real photographer.
“He also recorded himself having sex with the girls with hidden cameras,” Sudjana said, adding a laptop was seized which contained footage of him having sex with the girls.
“He would beat them if they refused to have sex with him,” he said.
Investigators said Abello had made a number of visits to Indonesia over the last five years and had been in the country on his latest visit since December last year
Under Indonesian child protection laws, the Frenchman could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Indonesian police last month arrested Russ Albert Medlin, a known American pedophile who allegedly abused 30 young girls in Jakarta.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the independent National Commission of Child Protection, said Indonesia appears to have become a magnet for foreign pedophiles.
“This case shows Indonesia must pay serious attention to sexual violence against children. This kind of criminality should be eradicated,” he told UCA News.
He called on the Indonesian government to work more with other countries in cracking down on such predators.
Ursuline Sister Irena Handayani, a women’s rights activist, echoed Sirait’s views and called on authorities to ensure the victims receive proper counseling.