Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Andrew Drummond, in Bangkok , October 17 2007

A suspected paedophile on the run from Interpol apparently boasted about getting a job in a Vietnam school without police checks and advised fellow teachers how to delete pornography on their computers.

Christopher Neil, 32, from British Columbia, Canada, is being hunted after allegedly posting some 200 pictures on the web which appear to show him abusing young boys in Vietnam. His facial features were deliberately distorted in a swirl, but they were uncovered by German technical experts.

Today, as his family begged for him to give himself up, Mr Neil appeared to have left his mark on the internet in two websites.

In a discussion forum for English teachers in the Far East called Dave's ESL cafe, a writer thought to be Mr Neil boasted about being able to evade the authorities in Vietnam to get a teaching job, and also advised colleagues how to delete pornography from their computers.

In addition, in a site accompanied by a photograph of Mr Neil, a writer identifying himself as Chris, aged 32 from Thailand, wrote about how he was being forced to run away 'as fast as I can'. It is believed that Mr Neil has held teaching jobs in Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea over the last few years.

Posting in Dave's ESL Cafe, a user called 'Peter Jackson' - a name which police believe that Mr Neil used when writing on the site - wrote: 'Police checks are NOT needed to get a visa. Public schools will want one but you should be able to stall them. Often they want teachers SO quickly that they will 'wait' for some things.

'I never gave a police check for my last public school job. I was in Vietnam at the time and getting one wasn't easy. I delayed and never heard about it again.'

In a different posting, the user described programmes that would be needed in order to delete pornography. 'If you're worried about any 'content' there are several ways to encrypt your drive,' he wrote. 'If you want to get rid of old files so no one will see, then simply deleting them will not work.'

A trail of evidence also seems to have been left on a MySpace profile, in which he appears to fret that the police web was closing.

'I've got to get out of myself. Free this slave, endure this trial no more. I'm running as fast as I can. My only hope is to let this go. Be alone. Escape this entrapment. The circle's getting smaller. The tunnel narrower,' the user wrote, in one of a number of poems filed on the site. The forum says it belongs to Chris, aged 32, whose profile said: 'Loving Asia...will I ever go home again??!'

Today, as Interpol stepped up their hunt, his family urged him to give himself up. 'Chris turn yourself in. Get back into Canada,' Matthew Neil, his younger brother, told reporters in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

His brother said that the family was devastated and shocked by the allegations. 'You know, you get anger too as well because, you know, one person can bring the whole family into a situation that's very uncomfortable for everybody,' he said.

The suspected paedophile worked as a supervisor at the Greenwood Air Cadet Summer Training Centre in Nova Scotia from 1998 to 2000.

However, most recently he had taught at Kwangju Foreign School in South Korea in the town of Yongin. His details have been removed from the school's website.

The hunt for Mr Neil was given a boost last Thursday when an image identified as his was captured on a camera at an immigration desk at Bangkok International Airport.

However, he has not been seen since and Mike Moran, the Interpol officer sent to Bangkok to co-ordinate the search, made a fresh appeal for new witnesses. 'We will catch him. Maybe not today or tomorrow but soon. Its only a matter of time,' he said.

No records have been found of Mr Neil leaving Thailand, so police assume that he may still be in the country However, Thailand's land borders with Laos and Cambodia are porous and he could reach Vietnam without his arrival being detected for days.

The Times story here


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