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Offline Andrew

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William and Christopher Ko
« on: March 25, 2010, 06:55:19 PM »
My twin boys, William and Christopher, were 9 years old when their mother Mei Wang (my ex-wife) defied a US custody order and abducted them to Singapore August 31, 2009.  She was able to get them out of the US despite the fact that the court had confiscated the boys’ passports, assigning one to my attorney and one to hers.  She secured Singapore passports for the boys via the Singapore Consulate IN San Francisco, using fraudulent means that went unnoticed and unchallenged by the consulate staff.  Despite an Interpol Red Alert and a four-count felony arrest warrant for her from the Los Angeles District Attorney, Singapore refuses to arrest her.  Even worse, the US refuses to issue an extradition request to Singapore even though there is a 79-year-old extradition treat in effect between Singapore and the United States.  The specific language of the treaty allows for extradition of a criminal for crimes of child abduction, child stealing and kidnapping.  I am challenging the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs’ decision with the help of Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul University College of Law, who is an internationally recognized authority in the field of foreign extradition to the U.S.
 
She has filed various motions in multiple courts in Singapore, attempting to gain custody of the children in that country and have my name removed from the birth certificates.  Fortunately, the Singapore court at least recognizes me as a parent, as a legal guardian and my rights to challenge those proceedings.  A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 1st, and a court date will be set at that time.  I have legal counsel here in the U.S. and also in Singapore.
 
Meanwhile, I am profoundly distressed by the US government’s failure to act in my sons’ best interest.  Repeated contact with my government representatives has been useless – Rep. David Dreier’s office has done nothing but forward a few letters and emails for me to the State Dept., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office has told me specifically that “California is a big state and we are too busy to get involved.”   Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont was kind enough to write to the Singapore Ambassador in Washington D.C. and to Secy. Of State Hillary Clinton on my behalf (even though I am not a constituent), expressing Congress’s concerns with nations that do not recognize US custody orders.   I have also written to Senator John McCain to help as Arizona is host to training Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots, funded entirely with US tax dollars.  We should suspend military aid to nations that do not respect US court orders.  Mr. McCain declined to help due to Senate protocol and referred me back to Senator Feinstein.   I also wrote to President Obama in October 2009 as he was going to Singapore for the APEC Forum.  His office’s response was that “the separation of authorities” prohibits him from getting involved.  On the advice of David Goldman’s team, I have also written to Rep. Christopher Smith of New Jersey, who has championed this cause, but as of today have not yet received a response.
 
I am in touch with NCMEC, and a few news stories about our case are beginning to appear – the Orange County Register ran a front-page story this month, and the Singapore press has picked it up as well.  Here are the links:
 
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/singapore-236585-wang-sons.html?pic=3 
 
http://www.todayonline.com/Hotnews/EDC100311-0000100/On-getting-a-child-back

We are in the process of putting a Facebook page together, and attempting to secure additional media attention to pressure U.S. officials into action.   If anyone has experience dealing with Singapore or other non-Hague countries on this issue, please let me know your thoughts and recommendations.  Everyday that goes by I feel farther and farther away from my beloved boys.
Sincerely,
Andrew Ko

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 08:04:25 AM »
Andrew, welcome to BSH. We have been following the news on your case for a few weeks now. One of the first things I thought about when I read your story was the large expat population the US has in Singapore and wondered if there might be websites or blogs that support these people that could be tapped to gain additional in-country support.

Thank you for providing the names of those who you have been in contact with. There are quite a few of us who have been writing letters to various congressional representatives and news outlets seeking support for Rep Smith's H.R. 3240. I for one would be happy to add these individuals to my list of folks to contact. I think my first letter might go out to Senator Feinstein. I find her comment particularly appauling!

Question: Have you had any success connecting with Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell? He's been very supportive of LBPs whose children have been abducted to Japan; being the state department rep for Singapore, it seems logical that he might be open to meeting with you. In fact, several LBPs with children in Japan have a meeting with Campbell and Janice Jacobs on April 9 (see more info here http://bringseanhome.org/forums/index.php/topic,3013.0.html).

Offline Andrew

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 01:56:18 PM »
Hi and thank you for your comment and suggestions.

I sent letters to 18 congressmen/women in October regarding HR 3240.  My children's US passports were confiscated by the Los Angeles Superior Court.  The abduction was facilitated by the Singapore Consulate in San Francisco.  The boys' mother is Singaporean and managed to get new Singapore passports for them.  To date, Congressman David Dreier and Senator Patrick Leahy have not been able to get a credible response from Singapore Ambassador Chan Heng Chee.  How can a foreign consulate issue passports to minors in the US without following US laws.  I wrote the 18 Representatives to ask them to add controls on issuance of passports by foreign consulates/embassies operating on US soil to prevent this from happening again in the future.

I wrote Senator Carl Levin (Armed Services) and Sen John McCain to ask why are we using taxpayer dollars to train Singapore air force pilots at Luke AFB in Arizona and Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.  There are hundreds of Singapore air force personnel and their families in Arizona.  If Singapore does not honor our system of law and US child custody orders, why are we training their armed forces?  Sen. McCain can ask for my help to get him elected president but wrote me to let me know he cannot help me with my abducted children.

Things are moving but slowly.  I have heard of Curt Cambell's name before.  I have written to Asst Attorney General Bruce Swartz, DOJ OIA Director Mary Ellen Warlow and AG Eric Holder to ask them why an extradition request is not being issued to Singapore when our extradition treaty specifically allows for this.  No response.

The State Department Office of Children's Affairs is of no help.  In fact, they have been helping the abducting parent more. The Director Michael Regan advised that we should not pursue the criminal aspect of the abduction but offered no alternative.  The role of the Office of Children's Affairs should be outsourced to the NCMEC as they understand what left behind parents are going through. 

Thanks again and I will look into the meeting in DC in April.  We go back to Court in Singapore on April 1st to get a trial date and we are hoping it will earlier rather than later. 

Offline forthelost

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010, 03:26:42 PM »
Is NCMEC going to list your sons on the site? I saw them on the Interpol site, but not on NCMEC.

Offline Andrew

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2010, 11:16:49 PM »
Hi Forthelost.  I am working on the NCMEC post.  The boys are in Singapore and our time has been spent trying to get our government officials to help.  Thanks.  Andrew.

Offline Andrew

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2010, 02:07:04 PM »
Hi All,
 
We finally have a hearing date in Singapore on June 9th at 2.30PM.  It will be a half-day hearing where 2 actions will be dealt with:my application to have Singapore recognize the US custody order and return the boys to the US and her action to have someone else declared the father and my name removed from the birth certificates.
 
The lawyer is still very positive.  But he realizes that whatever the outcome, it will get appealed to the Singapore High Court.  Please keep praying for the boys to come home safely.  It would be a great Father's Day present if the Singapore Court agrees with our case!

Also, for those of you in Southern California who are familiar with KFI, I was interviewed about the case by radio host Bill Handel (who is also an attorney and father of teenage twin girls).  Here is a link to the story - he will continue to follow the case, and the Orange County Register will be doing a follow-up piece in connection with the June 9th hearing.   

http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/Handel2.html

Thank you for your concern, suggestions and support.

Regards,
Andrew
Father of William and Christopher

Offline phillyone

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2010, 02:11:26 PM »
Good Luck Andrew!!! My prayers go out to you and your boys!

Offline ANALE

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 03:37:44 PM »
My heart aches for your loss.  My prayers go out to you.  May you soon be reunited.

Offline SageDad

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 05:59:04 PM »
Best of luck to you.  Will you be attending the proceedings in person?  The NCMEC has travel reimbursement dollars from the federal government that they manage which could help with your flight and hotel arrangements to appear at the hearing though, for some reason, they won't tell you about it unless you ask or they decide you are "eligible."  Their criteria for eligibility is anyone's guess, but not having a penis seems to help in my anecdotal experience.  Worth looking into if you're planning to not attend for financial reasons.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Rumi

Offline sue

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 09:12:11 PM »
I hope and pray that this goes well for you and your boys come home.  I find it hard to believe that the court would even concider removing your name and replacing it with another. 

Offline familygal

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2010, 12:14:15 AM »
I am here in Orange County and am very familiar with KFI and Bill Handel's show.  I will definitely listen and keep track of your story in the OC Register.  I saw the initial story they did.  I'll even send some comments on the story so that they know how much their coverage is appreciated, both to Bill and to the Register.  Have you thought about contacting John and Ken at KFI.  They might be interested in your story and seem to have a big following here in So. Cal.

Good luck to you and your sons.

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2010, 07:56:36 AM »
We finally have a hearing date in Singapore on June 9th at 2.30PM.  It will be a half-day hearing where 2 actions will be dealt with:my application to have Singapore recognize the US custody order and return the boys to the US and her action to have someone else declared the father and my name removed from the birth certificates.
 
...

Here is a link to the story - he will continue to follow the case, and the Orange County Register will be doing a follow-up piece in connection with the June 9th hearing.  http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/Handel2.html

Just a reminder that Andrew's hearing was today in Singapore. It's now nearly 8:00p there, so let's please keep watch for any news / updates.

Offline phillyone

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 08:07:57 PM »
Any news from Andrew? Or.. is no news good news??

Offline Andrew

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 03:10:42 PM »
Hello everyone,
Thank you very much for all your support. I wanted to give a quick update on what has been happening since I last checked in.
 
Most notably, I was interviewed again yesterday morning live on KFI-AM by Bill Handel. For those of you not in the Southern California area, this is our largest talk radio station, and Bill Handel is the morning drive time host. He is an attorney and also father of twin girls, so he has taken a personal interest in my boys’ case. This was my second time on his show, and this interview is in response to an ad I took out in the Los Angeles Times, reprinting an email from my congressman’s office, Rep. David Dreier, in which his staff blew me off. I was hopeful that he would champion our case as Rep. Chris Smith did for Sean, or at the very least take SOME pro-active action on behalf of my children – his constituents. But alas, he has not. The link to the interview is posted here, along with the ad.

http://www.kfiam640.com/pages/Handel2.html
 
Meanwhile, here are some additional updates:
 
A trial date of Sept. 14th is set in Los Angeles, to finalize the U.S. custody order giving me full legal custody of the boys. Since the U.S. is not actively pursuing criminal charges against the mother (i.e. issuing an extradition order for her and a formal request for the return of the boys), this is likely the last legal action to be taken in this country…unless Dreier or other public officials stand up and demand that the US government to enforce our laws, hold the mother accountable for her crimes and bring the boys home – as was done in the Goldman case.
 
The civil case in Singapore continues to wind through their court system. Frankly I am more encouraged by their proceedings than by the inaction on the U.S.’s part.
 
The Singapore judge said that there is no reason why I cannot the children; the mother has denied my 5 requests to do so, so I have been forced to file an application with the Singapore court to force her to allow me visitation. We are awaiting a ruling on that right now.
 
I am very hopeful that once the custody ruling is finalized here on Sept. 14th, then the Singapore court will then order the boys returned. Again, thank you all for your support, concern and advice.
 
Sincerely,
Andrew Ko

Offline Diane

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Re: William and Christopher Ko
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2010, 08:37:07 PM »
Andrew,

I absolutely loved your idea to put an ad in the paper (The LA Times, pretty impressive) with the email where the staff of your rep. "blew you off".  Brilliant strategy.    Great that you actually got a response at all.   My rep. ignores all letters on the issue of HR 3240.   I will be getting a new representative in November.   I plan to emulate you if they respond in the same way, to my request for support.

Good luck with all the upcoming radio shows and actions and hope the publicity helps.   It seems to be the only way to get anyone to respond to the return of our children.  Otherwise they are deadly silent.

Diane