China arrests suspect in schoolgirl rapes

Chinese police have arrested a teacher linked to the rape and sexual assault of 16 schoolgirls, more than a year after he went on the run, a local newspaper reported.

Huang Shiming, a primary school teacher in Huima, a village in the southwestern province of Sichuan, was accused of raping six girls aged between eight and 11 between April 2004 and last September, the Beijing Times said.

He was also accused of sexually assaulting 10 other girls, and threatening victims with violence "to scare them so they would not tell their families", the paper said.

Huang disappeared after a victim's family reported him to police and eluded authorities for more than a year before being identified in the southern province of Guangdong.

Huang had been transported back to Sichuan and would face trial soon, the paper said.

Last month, a court in Sichuan's neighbouring Chongqing municipality sentenced a primary school teacher to death for raping 23 girls.

In January, a former national legislator was jailed for life for raping dozens of schoolgirls after a fortune teller advised him to have sex with virgins to improve his health and business.