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U.S. pedophile suspect arrested in S. Korea after 8 years on the run

An American man suspected of sexually abusing minors in the United States has been arrested in South Korea after an eight-year-long international manhunt, police here said Friday.

The 44-year-old suspect, whose identity has been withheld, is suspected of raping minors in the U.S. state of Kentucky four times between August and October 2003, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA).

The suspect entered South Korea in 2004 via Thailand, the SMPA said, adding that he has since been working as an English tutor at private institutions, elementary schools, and universities in the southwestern Jeolla provinces, it added.

"As he has not committed any crime in South Korea, he will not be detained and soon be extradited to the U.S.," a police officer close to the investigation said.

The SMPA, after receiving a request from the global police organization Interpol, launched a probe in February to track down the suspected pedophile, officers said.

In July 2010, the South Korean government tightened the process of issuing working visas to foreigners wishing to teach English in the country as part of efforts to pre-screen convicted criminals.

Under the revised visa laws, overseas E-2 visa applicants are required to submit criminal background checks to South Korean consulates in their respective countries.

However, such files do not include records of ongoing criminal investigations, which allowed the pedophile suspect to receive an E-2 visa, according to police.

"We will continue with investigations as we believe that there will be more foreigners hiding in the country after committing crimes in their home countries," the officer added. (Yonhap News)

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