4 Jul 2005

Man at centre of Fiji disappearance guilty of ten charges of rape

8:10 pm on 4 July 2005

In Fiji, the man at the centre of the mystery disappearance of three teenage girls 9 days ago has pleaded guilty to ten charges of rape involving other girls.

Radio Fiji reports that 42-year old Dip Chand pleaded guilty in the Rakiraki magistrate's court and has been remanded in custody.

Chand faced four counts of raping an 11-year old girl on Malake Island just offshore from their settlement from 2003 onwards.

Chand also pleaded guilty to five counts of raping a 16-year old girl on the same island between 2003 and last month.

The court was told that on the last count Chand took another 17-year old girl on a fishing trip to the same island in 2001 and raped her.

The prosecutor told the court the incidents came to light only when police began questioning people in Naria in Rakiraki following the disappearance of three sisters aged 17, 18 and 19 who had gone fishing with Chand who was a family friend.

But Chand returned alone and reported that they were attacked at sea off Malake Island by a group of men who kidnapped the girls.

No trace of the girls has been found yet.