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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 06:36 GMT 07:36 UK
Thais detain paedophile suspect
Christopher Paul Neil - 20/10/2007
Christopher Paul Neil faces 20 years in prison if convicted

A court in Thailand has ordered a Canadian paedophile suspect be held in custody for 12 more days for further questioning ahead of a trial.

Police arrested 32-year-old teacher Christopher Paul Neil in Thailand on Friday after a global manhunt.

He is suspected of appearing in 200 online images of child abuse.

The international police agency Interpol appealed for help after experts unscrambled digitally distorted photos of the suspect.

Mr Neil appeared in court unshaven, wearing sunglasses, a cap and a red-striped T-shirt.

He has been charged with sexual abuse of a child under 15 and illegal detention.

UNFOLDING INVESTIGATION
Dec 2004: Abuse photos, some date-stamped 2002 or 2003, found on internet
8 Oct 2007: Interpol's global appeal for information
9 Oct: Interpol says more than 200 responses received
11 Oct: Suspect flies into Bangkok on one-way ticket
19 Oct: Suspect arrested in north-east Thailand
20 Oct: Mr Neil remanded in custody for further questioning
He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Interpol sparked a worldwide manhunt when it launched its first global appeal to the public last week for information on the suspected paedophile.

The Thai courts issued an arrest warrant on Thursday after a 17-year-old Thai youth told the authorities the suspect had sexually molested him several years ago.

Mr Neil was arrested on Friday morning in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, 250 km (150 miles) north-east of the capital, Bangkok.

Police chiefs said he was suspected of abusing at least 12 youngsters - at least one said to be under 10 years old.

The arrest follows a three-year effort to identify a man seen in more than 200 online images of alleged sexual abuse involving young boys.

The man's face had been digitally scrambled, but Interpol used software to create a usable image of the suspect.

Thailand map

On 11 October, footage from a security camera at Bangkok airport recorded Mr Neil's entry into Thailand from South Korea, where he had been working as an English teacher.

After hundreds of responses to its appeal for help, Interpol named him as a suspect earlier this week.

Officers now believe the Canadian might have abused boys in Thailand as well as in Vietnam and Cambodia - and he could face charges in any of those countries.

He could also be charged in Canada, which has laws allowing for the prosecution of its nationals for child-sex crimes committed abroad.

Thai police have appealed for more victims to come forward and indicated he would be charged in Thailand, but they did not rule out the possibility of extradition.

Mr Neil, from British Columbia, has been teaching at schools in Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam since 2000.

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