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Police arrest fugitive molestation suspect

Submitted by on 1, September 10, 2010 – 4:45 amNo Comment

By Rin Kelly

Alameda police arrested fugitive child molestation suspect David Lai Van Mai at San Francisco International Airport August 31 following an international search by the FBI.

Mai, a 59-year-old native of Vietnam, allegedly fled the United States for his country of birth in 2007 upon learning that he was being investigated on at least two counts of sexual abuse, said Alameda Police Sgt. Patrick Wyeth. Alameda Detective Aaron Hardy led the investigation, which stemmed from allegations involving two minor girls, and took Mai into custody last Tuesday.

“There will be probably more than two counts, but two counts sounds like a good beginning,” said Wyeth.

Mai was a resident of San Francisco at the time of the 2007 incidents. He had reportedly lived in California since 1980.

According to Vietnamese news sources, the FBI located Mai in the Vietnamese city of Hai Phong. FBI spokesman Peter Lee was unable to comment on specifics of the case due to the ongoing nature of the investigation but acknowledged that the agency tracked Mai down on an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrant. Hai Phong authorities then took him into custody July 24 and delivered the suspect to an Interpol office in Hanoi, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

“Vietnamese authorities hung onto him a little bit to see if he did anything in their country,” said Wyeth. According to authorities, it is not believed that any further charges were brought against Mai in Vietnam.

The case made headlines in Mai’s home country, where news wires reported that Mai was aware of the police search for him and had been planning to leave the country to escape capture. Mai apparently lived at his brother’s house in the Kien Thiu district of Hai Phong, reported Vietnam News Agency, and fathered a son during his time in Vietnam.

He was arrested at Hai Von Hotel in Hung Yen Province, VNA reported.

Lee championed the partnership between Alameda police and the FBI on the case. “In coordination with the Alameda police department we were able to extradite Mai,” he said.

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