the mouse that quibbles

the mouse that quibbles

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Where is Pumpkin’s Daddy?
Homeland Security Doesn't Know...

A few days ago, the photo of a sad-eyed little Chinese girl from New Zealand finally pushed Madelaine McCann off the front pages, except this time it isn’t the child who has gone missing; it’s her father, Nai Yin (‘Michael’) Xue.

On Saturday morning, 15th of September, CCTV recorded Mr Xue, 54, walking onto a platform at the Southern Cross train station in Melbourne, pulling a suitcase and holding his three-year-old daughter’s hand. At an escalator, he bent down to speak to her before walking away, without looking back. The camera then recorded the little girl wandering aimlessly for twenty minutes as people passed by before security guards found her. Mr Xue took a taxi to the airport and two hours later boarded a plane to LAX.

It hasn’t taken long to piece together the sequence of events: Mr Xue’s 27-year-old second wife, An An ‘Annie’ Liu, was last seen alive at a childcare centre on Tuesday, September 11th. On Wednesday, Mr Xue – a naturalized citizen of New Zealand, martial arts expert and well-known owner of a Chinese-language newspaper – went to the Henderson Police Station in Auckland to retrieve a ceremonial sword and his passport, which had been confiscated after he had been convicted of assaulting his wife in a violent domestic dispute last June. Mr Xue has several times in the past threatened to kill his wife, according to friends, and Mrs Xue had sought refuge at a woman’s shelter. After collecting his passport, Mr Xue then went to the KVB Kunlun bank on Queen St in central Auckland and withdrew $8800 New Zealand, (US$6445). On Thursday evening, he was seen eating with his daughter, Qian Xun Xue, at a restaurant in Auckland, before he later drove his wife’s car to the Auckland airport and fled to Australia with the child. His own car, a Honda Rafaga with Xue’s Chinese Times prominent logo, remained parked outside the couple’s home for two days before it was moved by police and searched. A body presumed to be that of his wife’s was finally found, stuffed into the boot on Wednesday, September 19th, a week after Mr Xue had collected his passport and fled New Zealand…while during the previous two days police searched his home on Keystone Avenue (and yes, the irony hasn’t been missed here in Auckland.)

The abandoned little girl, nicknamed ‘Pumpkin’ by the police, is being cared for until custody issues can be sorted out, and her grandmother arrives from China. The little girl has been in a state of shock, not speaking for two days, until she finally cried for her mother.

CCTV cameras and airline records clearly show Mr Xue at both the Melbourne airport and at LAX. But while all this is tragic on a personal level, here’s the real kicker:

Los Angeles police have confirmed that they are not searching for the father who has clearly abandoned his child and quite possibly murdered his wife. Why? It seems that while New Zealand informed the Interpol agency in Washington of the situation, Interpol didn’t pass on that information to the police in Los Angeles, because they had yet to receive a formal warrant from New Zealand for his arrest. The L.A. police contacted Interpol themselves, after hearing about the case in the media

So much for the effectiveness that aggressive fingerprinting and photographing of every passenger into LAX Homeland Security insists upon – including every member of the flight crew who flew Mr Xue into LAX – yes, even pilots and crew are not exempt from such treatment as I experienced on my flight from Heathrow to Auckland two months ago. So while the United States continues to invade the privacy of tens of thousands of innocent American citizens with warrantless wiretapping, and even more innocent non-Americans arriving in – or just in transit through – the United States, a man with a previous conviction of domestic violence, who has abandoned his three-year-old daughter and is suspected of murdering his wife… walks off a plane at LAX and vanishes into the large Asian community in Los Angeles. It does beg the question why Mr Xue chose the United States to escape, rather than his native China (who are fully co-operating with both Interpol and the New Zealand police for Mr Xue’s capture).

But I suppose since Mr Xue isn’t a Muslim or an Iraqi, or fits any particular profile as a possible terrorist, Homeland Security isn’t bothered by his fleeing into California. Meanwhile… Cate Blanchette and Russell Crowe have been tipped to play the McCanns in a Hollywood movie about the missing British girl.

The absurdity that is American life goes on…


Nonny Mouse said...

The New Zealand Herald is running an up-to-date Pumpkin Case Homepage.

pissed off patricia said...

Nonny, congratulations on starting your own blog. I've always thought you should have your own space for your own voice because your comments at crooks and liars demonstrated your wonderful way with words. Good for you.

The story you shared here is amazing. We have made such a mess of security that it seems to stand in the way of what it is supposed to even be.