Arrested teacher had files on how to kidnap and kill

LOS ANGELES — A teacher arrested at Los Angeles International Airport wearing a bulletproof vest and with checked bags containing knives, body bags, a smoke grenade and other weapons also had files on his computer detailing how to kidnap and kill people, federal authorities disclosed Friday.

In addition, Yongda Huang Harris had files revealing he has a “strong interest” in sexual violence against girls, including a video titled “Schoolgirls in Cement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Mills said.

One publication was titled “Man Trapping” and showed how to hunt and trap humans, she said. Another document on the computer contained schedules for schools in Japan showing when students arrived and left.

The prosecutor detailed the discoveries during a court appearance by Harris, 28, a Boston University graduate who had been working for the last six months in Japan as a junior high school teacher.

Harris, a U.S. citizen, was arrested during a stopover in Los Angeles on his trip from Osaka to Boston.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams declared Harris to be a flight risk and ordered him held without bond until he stands trial.

Harris is charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, for the grenade, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He did not enter a plea.

Steven Seiden, Harris’ attorney, said the weapons Harris was carrying were meant for protection and necessary because he was once attacked on the streets of Boston.

Seiden described Harris as scared and timid. Harris carried some of the items to defend himself, Seiden said.

“He may have interests that are not of the norm, but that doesn’t mean he’s carrying out any type of harm to anyone,” Seiden said.

Seiden also said Harris didn’t have any previous psychological issues.

Harris was arrested Oct. 5 wearing the bulletproof vest under a trench coat along with fire-resistant pants and kneepads. His attire attracted the attention of law enforcement, and when his luggage was checked the weapons cache was found, authorities said.

The search of his checked luggage uncovered numerous suspicious items, including a hatchet, knives, collapsible baton, biohazard suit, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs, authorities said.

The items “looked like a kidnap kit,” prosecutor Mills said.

The Japan Times, Oct. 14, 2012
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