WASHINGTON - A man accused of raping his own daughter and posting video of the attack on the Internet was being held in Hong Kong yesterday in what authorities called the arrest of one of the world's most notorious child molesters.

Kenneth John Freeman, 44, a former sheriff's deputy from Washington state, was apprehended by Chinese police Tuesday night using arrest information from U.S. authorities. It is not clear what Freeman was doing in Hong Kong, but "obviously, he was trying to escape," said a U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman, Nikki Credic.

The Web video of the attack became one of the most widely downloaded child-pornography videos in recent years, officials said. Freeman's daughter is now a teenager who advocates against child sexual abuse, and has told her story on television.

Freeman was one of the fugitives most wanted by both the Marshals and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Web video was featured on the TV show America's Most Wanted, which triggered calls to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that helped identify the girl.

"Freeman will be returned for trial here, where penalties for child exploitation are among the toughest in the world," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, who oversees ICE.

Authorities said Freeman, facing local and federal charges, fled the United States last year. They tracked him down in Suzhou, China. The United States has no extradition agreement with China.

But a treaty does exist between the United States and Hong Kong. Investigators discovered that Freeman was planning to travel to Hong Kong, and arrested him on his arrival at the airport.