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Malawi Adds New Charges Against Alleged Chinese Child Exploiter

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Malawi Adds New Charges Against Alleged Chinese Child Exploiter

Malawian state prosecutors have added charges against a Chinese national who was already facing five counts for allegedly exploiting children. A BBC investigation found 26-year-old Lu Ke selling exploitative videos of Malawian children, officials said.

Malawi’s Senior State Advocate Serah Mwangonde told a court in Lilongwe on Thursday that the additional charges follow the completion of investigations into the matter.

She later briefed reporters outside the court.

“We have also added money laundering, procurement of children to perform in public and we have added a cybersecurity crime,” she said.

Mwangonde said the new charges are in addition to five counts of child trafficking which Lu Ke was charged with earlier in July after his extradition from Zambia in June.

Police arrested Lu Ke last month following his extradition from Zambia, where he fled after a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) investigation reported he was recording young villagers in central Malawi and making them say racist things about themselves in Mandarin.

In one video, children, some as young as 9, are heard saying in Mandarin that they are a “black monster” and have a “low IQ.”

The BBC reported he was selling the videos at up to $70 apiece to a Chinese website. The children in the videos were paid about a half-dollar each.

Lu Ke’s lawyer, Andy Kaonga, told the court Thursday that he was yet to be served with the amended charge sheet and other documents or disclosures.

State prosecutor Mwangonde said her office was still perfecting the remaining documents.

Kaonga said the documents and new charge-sheet would help him know how best he could advise the suspect to properly take a plea.

This forced the presiding senior resident magistrate, James Mankhwazi, to adjourn the case to Aug. 19.

Lu Ke is currently at Maula prison after a court last month refused him bail, saying he could easily flee the country considering that he fled to Zambia where he was arrested and sent back to Malawi.

— VOA report