Malaysian police have so far identified 23 victims of convicted British paedophile Richard Huckle. Discussions are still on-going with the UK's National Crime Agency for more information on Huckle.
Malaysia's Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim told the state news agency Bernama that the police were intensifying investigations into the backgrounds of the child victims. The force is also trying to identify the places patronised by Huckle during his eight-year stay in the country.
"For now, we have identified one place in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur while another place is under observation," he said. Malaysian police had been trying to identify the victims of Huckle in a bid to offer help to the victims. It is planning to work with a non-governmental organisation to help the victims.
On a wider context, Noor Rashid urged other countries to share information on paedophiles to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents. The NCA had only informed the Malaysia police about Huckle about a month ago, and no further information shared as the case was still on trial, the police say.
The Malaysian police had been repeatedly asking for more information from the NCA. It had hoped that after the court sentenced Huckle, the authorities in the UK "can provide us with more information." Ong Chin Lan, the Assistant Commissioner of Police from the Federal Police's Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division had said last week.
Huckle was handed 22 life sentences and would serve at least 23 years behind bars for abusing 23 Malaysian and Cambodian babies and children over almost a decade. Huckle, 30, pleaded guilty to 71 offences.
More than 20 other counts of abuse were left to "lie on the file". Huckle was found with over 20,000 indecent images of children on his computer and camera when he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in 2014.
The NCA has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after criticism that it should have done more to stop the abuse. Huckle is thought to have abused more than 200 children, mostly in Kuala Lumpur.
Huckle, who posed as a photographer, among others, took photos of himself raping children, including a baby who was still in nappies. Huckle, dubbed as Britain's worst paedophile by local media, even wrote a manual about his attacks.
UK says willing to work more closely with Malaysian authorities
Separately, a British High Commission spokesman in Malaysia, told Bernama that the UK is willing to work more closely with other countries, including Malaysia, in the areas of crime intelligence and child protection. He said the UK took an extremely serious view of paedophilia and offences against children.
"Where British nationals commit such offences, anywhere in the world, we will work to bring offenders to justice and ensure victims get the right protection and treatment. International cooperation is critical for that."
The spokesman added: "Our engagement with the Malaysian authorities on the Richard Huckle case, since 2014, reflects that. Criminals know no borders."
Huckle abused trust in worst possible way - NCA
James Traynor from the UK's NCA Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command said the agency had worked to track down Huckle to end his prolific abuse under Section 72 which allows UK nationals to be prosecuted in the UK for offences committed overseas. "Richard Huckle spent several years integrating himself into the community in which he lived, making himself a trusted figure ... but he abused that trust in the worst possible way."
"He deliberately travelled to a part of the world where he thought he could abuse vulnerable children without being caught ... Borders are no barriers — we are determined that those who go abroad to abuse children will be held to account," Traynor added.