Police in Siem Reap yesterday arrested a 68-year-old man they say is wanted for a kidnapping abroad – an incident seemingly corroborated by Australian media reports, which cite an attacker with the same name and age allegedly abducting a businessman in Queensland.
The suspect – detained over an alleged robbery – has also been linked to the suspicious death of Canadian journalist Dave Walker, whose decomposed body was discovered in the Angkor archaeological park on May 1, 2014.
Australian expatriate Guido James Eglitis, 68, was seized by police yesterday together with New Zealander Brett Michael Hastie, 44, over the alleged robbery and assault of British national David Scotcher, 66, according to Siem Reap deputy provincial police chief Chao Maovireak, who is also in charge of immigration.
According to Scotcher’s complaint, Eglitis and Hastie entered his house on September 29, attacked him and stole his camera and passport, Maovireak said, adding the pair had “confessed”.
Though the pair were only being questioned over the robbery at this stage, Maovireak said that Eglitis was also wanted for kidnapping in a foreign country, though he declined to provide further details.
According to the Brisbane Times, a Guido James Eglitis, together with an accomplice, posed as an Australian Federal Police officer during the alleged 2007 abduction of a 58-year-old businessman in Queenland.
The victim was snatched from a golf club carpark in Brisbane, hauled into a white van, taken to a house and tied to a chair bolted to the ground, the report stated.
The victim eventually escaped and Eglitis, reported as 60 at the time, was committed to stand trial on charges of kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, robbery and possessing restricted items.
Queensland police yesterday declined to discuss the case or confirm whether Eglitis was the subject of an arrest warrant. The Australian embassy did not respond to requests for comment.
Tammy Madon, Canadian journalist Dave Walker’s cousin and next of kin, has also alleged that Eglitis was involved in Walker’s alleged murder and had committed crimes in the US and China including fraud.
Walker’s body was found in forest at Angkor Thom almost three months after he disappeared from his guesthouse, leaving behind his phone, laptop and personal effects.
According to Madon, Eglitis, using the name James An, misrepresented himself as an investigator probing Walker’s death on behalf of Cambodian, US, Australian and Canadian governments.
Madon said Eglitis interviewed witnesses, a claim backed up by Walker’s former business partner Sonny Chhoun, who yesterday identified a police picture of Eglitis as being “James An”.
“During the time of the disappearance, he showed up and told me he was a private investigator and he was working with the military police. He interviewed me, and one day he asked me to stay with him because it was safer,” Chhoun said.
“He tried to convince me that I should stay under his protection [at his home]. I had a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling,” he added. “I still wonder to this day what he was doing … I never spoke to him again.”
Siem Reap provincial police chief Sort Nady yesterday said he was unaware of Eglitis’s connection to Walker’s case, which, he said, officers continued to investigate.