Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Paedophile suspect arrested

Paedophile suspect arrested

Paedophile suspect arrested

ABRITON who headed a children’s charity in Phnom Penh has been arrested in Thailand for immigration offences, according to an anti-human trafficking organisation.

The arrest comes less than two weeks after a British tabloid published a story that David Fletcher, 65, was a paedophile who used his charity to gain access to young girls.

Steve Morrish, executive director of the Phnom Penh-based Southeast Asia Investigations into Social and Humanitarian Activities, or SISHA, said Wednesday that Thai authorities arrested Fletcher on Sunday at a guesthouse in Bangkok.

Morrish said Fletcher is being held because he failed to notify Thai immigration authorities of his previous criminal convictions in the UK.

Officials from SISHA and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) of the British Police alerted Thai authorities to Fletcher’s presence after receiving information concerning his whereabouts from sources who were tracking his movements, Morrish said.

“We’ve been investigating him for about 18 months,” he said. “We located him in Bangkok, after sources told us he’d fled there when news came out last week about him.”

A SISHA press release stated that Fletcher entered Thailand on June 25 – five days after British tabloid The Sunday Mirror published a story claiming to expose him as a paedophile who used his unregistered charity, the Rubbish Dump Project, to befriend underage girls at Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey dumpsite.

Morrish said Fletcher is currently being held at a Thai immigration detention centre.

For two years, Fletcher has been under investigation by CEOP, as well as Cambodian authorities, SISHA and local child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants “for alleged sexual abuse of children in Cambodia”, according to the SISHA press release.

Morrish noted that there have been no charges filed against Fletcher by Cambodian authorities. They are “all just allegations now,” he said. He added that if Fletcher has committed wrongdoing, he “needs to face up to what he’s done here”.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman could not be reached for comment Tuesday, and officials at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they were not aware of the case.

Fletcher was convicted in July 1997 on charges including having sex with a girl under the age of 16, indecent assault, taking an indecent photograph of a child and possessing a prohibited weapon, according to Norwich Crown Court in England.

In an interview last week after The Sunday Mirror article was published, Fletcher accused the media of exploiting his past.

“I made a mistake of having an affair with a girl a few months under age,” Fletcher wrote in an email. “The gutter press then as now took it out of context for greater circulation.”

Fletcher said he had “paid his dues” for his mistakes and denied committing any crimes in Cambodia. “As for using the dump to get access to girls, absolutely not,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY PHAK SEANGLY

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for