Glitter may face firing squad over child-sex allegations

The disgraced rock star Gary Glitter could face death by firing squad after he was accused of having sex with a girl aged 12 in Vietnam.

Sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old regardless of whether there is consent is considered rape under Vietnamese law, with a maximum penalty of death before a firing squad. "Obscene acts with a child" can lead to up to 12 years in prison.

Two girls, aged 12 and 18, told police they had sex with the former singer - real name Paul Francis Gadd - at his rented home in the southern coastal resort of Vung Tau, to which he moved in March. There were conflicting reports over whether the second girl had turned 18, the age of consent in Vietnam. The 61-year-old former singer was arrested on Saturday at Tan Son Nhatinternational airport in Ho Chi Minh City as he tried to leave the country. He left his home a week ago amid allegations about his relationships with two teenage girls.

Mr Glitter was taken back to Vung Tau for questioning. Yesterday he had not been charged with any crime but was in custody at a jail outside the city.Police would not say if either of the girls had claimed they were paid for sex. Last week, the foreign ministry said Mr Glitter had applied for permanent resident status in Vietnam.

Officials interviewed a 15-year-old girl they had found in Mr Glitter's home, a ministry spokesman said.

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said yesterday: "We are aware of the arrest of a British national and consular support is being provided."

Mr Glitter was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail sentencebefore being released.

He went to Cambodia and was permanently expelled from the country in 2002, reportedly for seeking underage sex, although officials did not specify his crime or file charges.

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