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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sanders and Thorns: the mystery anti-pedophiles

Sanders and Thorns: the mystery anti-pedophiles

sanders.jpg
sanders.jpg

A"mateurs trying to get a foot in the door," was how Christian Guth,

International Police Adviser to the Ministry of Interior, yesterday described

Jack Sanders and Gerald Thorns, the two New Zealanders claiming to be the

directors of an anti-pedophilia NGO called Global-PAC (Protect All

Children).

Gerald Thorns, right, with Brig Gen Thong Lim, toy animals and a miniature infrared-capable camera for use in concealed tracking work and "non-threatening interviews of victims". Gen Lim was introduced as Global-PAC's "honorary president". Government police adviser Christian Guth says the police were unwise to accept gifts from such an informal source.

"Our generals were unwise to accept gifts from them," he

said.

"Extremely dubious," said Mike Bush, police liaison officer at the

New Zealand Embassy, Bangkok. "They are not wanted for any crime but I would

definitely like to have a meeting with them about certain matters that I cannot

discuss with the media. Because they are New Zealanders I personally have an

interest in whether their motives are genuine. Only time will tell if they are

credible and legitimate."

Sanders and Thorns surfaced in Phnom Penh,

possibly up to something, two weeks ago. Possibly flushed out by a broadcast

email from the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong, labeling them possible

scam artists. You could tell something hit the fan because newshounds from

several countries went into piranha attack mode, a website called Scoop was full

of it, conspiracy theorists, "black op" followers, and intel observers (of

unknown parentage, authenticity and location) plugged into the loop with their

own bizarre chatter. It spreads quicker than an Aussie bush fire.

"Be

careful if you go down this rabbit hole; it is very, very deep my

friend."

This was the last line of an email to the Post a few days ago by

John Woodrow, warning us to be careful in dealings with Sanders and Thorns, who

the source claimed were security intelligence "deep cover operatives", using an

apparently legit cover anti-pedophile NGO.

He claimed to have met the

pair, and two others named Chamberlain and Richards in Afghanistan. "They use

cult followers for expendable deep ops. Sanders uses cults, criminals,

high-level politicians, family members for deep cover intel work, trained by

Chamblerlain. Thorns NZ SIS deep cover operative, operations in Taiwan, China,

Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Chile, Spain. Chamberlain trained Sanders, was best

man at Sanders' wedding in 1994. Sanders wife suspected of selling Chinese intel

NZ & Aust govts. Richards Canadian intel agent & lawyer who drafted exec

order to scrap money laundering and passport scheme before Nauru president

suddenly died of a heart attack."

The Post met Sanders and Thorns by

invitation at the office of the Anti-Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police,

a department of the Ministry of Interior. The director, General Un Sokunthea,

was there, also Brig Gen Thong Lim, deputy director of Central Justice. He was

introduced as "honorary president" of Global-PAC in Cambodia; JS and GT said

they'd met him at a conference in Bangkok.

The purpose of the meeting was

to acquaint the Post with the facts about what Global-PAC was doing in Cambodia;

we also took photos (Sanders declined, but then volunteered a new passport

mugshot, and directed us to a celebrity website where he is pictured at a party

with actor Sam Neill and Australian Immigration Minister Amanda

Vanstone).

Although the Post seems to have been the only media invited to

meet them, another journalist was briefly present, Martin Chulov from The

Australian, an investigative writer who claimed to have known the pair for some

time and has published articles about their "Embassy of Nauru" in Beijing which

was used to smuggle high-level defectors out of North Korea. He wasn't sure what

was happening in Cambodia, but reckoned they weren't scam artists, that their

cover was legit, and that they were good company and good copy. Chulov later

told me someone had phoned his editor alleging he was a spy by

association.

Sanders and Thorns produced a written statement describing

Global-PAC as a "virtual NGO" with no offices, operating in 11 countries, with

20 directors, who meet twice yearly to receive reports on how donor money has

been spent and to plan future work. They claim that businesses and

philanthropists give Global-PAC money for anti-pedophile work.

They

stated this in an email: "We gather evidence on sex tourists and pedophiles and

provide to law enforcement agencies in Cambodia or to the embassies of the

culprit's country of origin. That is why we are not eager to give personal

details. We are watched by pedophiles, just as we watch them."

Thorns

told me the organized sex tourism business had become secure, sophisticated,

very lucrative, and sophisticated enforcement strategies were required. This was

why Global-PAC donated a quantity of infrared video surveillance and recording

gear, to be used in tracking potential pedophiles at night from concealed

positions at a distance. They also wanted to establish a safe interview room in

Sihanoukville, and provide training and coaching to enforcement officers, and

guesthouses liable to be used by sex tourists. They had a laminated poster for

guesthouses stating "We report pedophiles to the police."

Gen Thong Lim

said he had received no money from Sanders and Thorns, neither had he given them

any. He was helping them find suitable premises in Sihanoukville. General

Sokunthea told me later (through her translator): "I know nothing about

Global-PAC or the two men. I will neither support nor deny their application to

register as an NGO. I will not be made use of by GP for promotional

purposes.

"I am grateful for the donation of equipment provided for

enforcement as the police desperately need but cannot afford such equipment.

That is my only interest. Whatever relationship Brig Gen Thong Lim has with GP

is his business."

The FCCHK cancelled Global-PAC's presentation after

becoming concerned at what they might be doing, and after seeing their "dodgy"

website which has somewhat pornographic images of scantily clad young girls

presumably meant to be examples of pedophile targets, plus a description of the

NGO, and an invitation to "Donate Now!"

The FCC's email was widely

distributed to media. However, Sanders and Thorns say they were mystified at the

cancellation and could only presume the FCC decided the subject matter was not

sufficiently entertaining for the club.

Last week Sanders says he

accompanied Yoichi Clark Shimatsu, a former Japan Times editor, who he described

as GP's researcher, to the Fringe Club in Hong Kong, next to the FCC, where

Shimatsu gave a luncheon talk about GP's work and objectives, attended by church

leaders and diplomats. Sanders says the content included involvement of cultic

and military group involvement in child abuse.

JS and GT said they are

genuine, Christian family men with a serious mission. "While we are new to

Cambodia, we are already active in a number of key areas of relevance to

protection of children. Unlike many NGOs, whose funding appears to depend on it,

we are not headline hunters or grandstanding to generate publicity; we prefer to

work quietly behind the scenes. Publicity could easily undermine some of our

charitable activities and greatly compromise the effectiveness of our

workers."

I sought comment from the following about

Global-PAC:

British Ambassador, Stephen Bridges [who had a two-hour

meeting with Sanders and Thorns at the Sunway Hotel; Sanders says he was moved

to tears by what Bridges told him about child sex abuse in Cambodia]: "I was

introduced to Sanders via a friend in South China [where Sanders lives]. They

have been to Cambodia on several short visits. I have no reason to doubt their

authenticity. I applaud any organization that is prepared to make a positive

contribution towards reducing sexual abuse of children, which is a massive

problem in Cambodia."

Gary Neil, Federal Police Adviser, Australian

Embassy: "I know nothing about Global-PAC or the directors. I have only seen

their website."

Christian Guth, Ministry of Interior: "These people

appear to be enthusiastic amateurs trying to establish themselves in Cambodia.

They are not professionals, that's for sure. Their direct approach to generals

Sokunthea and Lim was improper and the generals were imprudent in accepting

gifts from them, even though it is equipment that the police need.

"The

normal, acceptable approach by NGOs is to go through the Minister, with a letter

of introduction, which leads to analysis of proposals by people in the field, a

Memorandum of Understanding and a formal agreement. It takes time, it can't be

done quickly. I can say that the police will not be having any more involvement

with these people."

Deirdre O'Shea, staff member with the Starfish

community NGO in Sihanoukville: "A network of NGOs in Sihanoukville is

conducting research on child sexual exploitation, culminating in an advocacy

campaign and information dissemination. We have permissions from the Governor;

we do not want unscrupulous actors jeopardising that effort, or its

reputation."

The last email the Post received from Global-PAC was: "I

think there is a lot of disinfo being fired around about us. Hopefully we will

continue our plans but it depends on the fallout from the press reports and the

Cambodian Government accepting our version of what is really happening behind

the scenes. Cheers. Jack."

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