Glitter skips his flight home after jail release
By Mark Hughes and Andrew Drummond at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
The convicted paedophile Gary Glitter made a hysterical but
successful break for freedom last night as he was being deported from
Vietnam to Britain after serving nearly three years in prison for child
The former rock star, 64, managed to avoid boarding a flight to
London during a stopover in Thailand after a series of confrontations
involving British embassy officials, police and Thai immigration
officers. He told them he was scared of the press, particularly the
television crews expected to meet him in London.
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, collapsed in a bedroom at the
Louis Tavern - within the territorial no-man's land of Bangkok's
Suvarnabhumi International Airport - and complained of heart problems,
demanding to be taken to hospital. In the early hours of the morning
Bangkok time, he was attended by a doctor on call at the airport, paying
for his treatment in cash. Meetings were being held in the early hours
involving Thai officials, British officials and child protection
agencies to discuss his future.
The Government chose today - the day of Glitter's expected arrival -
to announce that it is increasing to five years the amount of time
paedophiles can be banned from travelling abroad, among other measures
to clamp down on sex tourism. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said of
Glitter: 'We need to control him and he will be, once he returns to this
country. It certainly would be my view that with the sort of record
that he's got, he shouldn't be travelling anywhere in the world.'
Glitter's attempt to do just that began 12 hours after he was
released from Thu Duc prison, 100 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City, where
he served his sentence for abusing two girls, aged 10 and 11, in
Vietnam. He was taken under police escort and accompanied by an official
from the British consulate in Ho Ch Minh City to the airport, with his
lawyer insisting he was returning to Britain.
He signed autographs for fellow passengers on the Thai Airways flight
to Bangkok, but tried to avoid conversation. One passenger said: 'He
seemed fairly relaxed but tried to keep himself to himself. Some
passengers started hassling him and asking questions, but he got moved
away from them all.'
On arrival at Bangkok, it was clear that going to London was the last
thing on Glitter's mind. He was met at the aircraft by Thai immigration
police and taken immediately to a VIP room.
Sudarat Sereewat, the secretary of Thailand's Fight Against Child
Exploitation group, said: 'At first he asked to be allowed to enter to
Thailand but he was refused. He said he had not committed any offence
here but he was told he was not wanted.'
Unable to enter Thailand, Glitter then demanded to fly on to
Singapore. Mr Sereewat added: 'This situation is still far from clear.
He has been told that he will be arrested if he attempts to enter