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.



  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release