Jackson back on stage in Bangkok: Police find no evidence in videotapes

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL JACKSON emerged from seclusion yesterday to give a twice-postponed concert in Thailand before more than 40,000 sympathetic fans. He showed no sign of concern about the child sex abuse scandal that has engulfed his career.

The entertainer's delayed return to the stage came amid reports that videotapes seized from his Californian homes during a police raid last weekend contain nothing to support an allegation that he sexually molested a 13- year-old boy.

The boy, Jordan Chandler, told investigators last week that he had a four-month relationship with the eccentric multi- millionaire which started with kissing and cuddling, but escalated to more serious sexual acts.

According to an 11-page report compiled by a caseworker for the Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services, matters 'really got out of hand' when the youngster accompanied Jackson to Europe.

But an unnamed high-ranking police source told the Los Angeles Times that the lack of physical evidence has left investigators 'scrambling' to get statements from other potential victims. 'There's no medical evidence, no taped evidence,' he said. 'The search warrant (for Jackson's properties) didn't result in anything that would support a criminal filing.'

In recent days, police have widened their criminal investigation to include relationships between Jackson, who loves the company of children, and several other boys. One of the entertainer's youthful friends, 10-year-old Wade Robson, yesterday became the second child to state that he had shared a bed with the 34- year-old star, saying that nothing remotely indecent had occurred. He compared the experience with 'slumber parties'.

There is little doubt that the scandal has deeply upset the highly sensitive and reclusive performer. According to a promoter of Jackson's 'Dangerous' world tour the actress Elizabeth Taylor, a close confidante of his, and his sister, Janet, were yesterday travelling to meet him in Singapore.

He appears to have recovered from the severe dehydration which doctors said caused him twice to postpone a concert in Bangkok.

The tour is sponsored by Pepsi. Coca-Cola seized the chance of taking a shot at its rivals by taking out large advertisements in Bangkok papers, which read: 'Dehydrated . . . There's always Coke'.

Jordan Chandler is the subject of a custody battle between his father, a wealthy Beverly Hills dentist, and his mother, who is a close friend of Jackson. The star and his lawyers have strongly denied all allegations.