Glitter 'ready to fly to third country'

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The Independent Online

The convicted paedophile Gary Glitter has agreed to fly from Thailand to a third country after refusing to return to England, a Thai immigration official said.

The former rock star, 64, whose real name is real name is Paul Francis Gadd, served nearly three years in a Vietnamese prison for molesting children. He has agreed to take a Thai Airways flight tonight but his destination and time of departure were yet to be determined, said Col. Puttipong Musikul of the Immigration Police division.

Most Thai Airways flights leaving at night have destinations in Europe.

Glitter flew out of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam last night and had been booked to change planes in Bangkok en route to London after serving almost three years of a prison sentence for molesting children.

A Thai immigration official at the airport said his department received a note from Vietnam and Interpol requesting that Glitter — whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd — not be allowed entry into Thailand. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press.

However, Glitter refused to board a London-bound Thai Airways plane, complaining of an earache, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Immigration officials, he said, gave the airline permission to take Glitter to an airport clinic where the doctor checked his complaint. He was then returned to the airport's transit area.

Lt. Gen. Chatchawal Suksomchit, the chief of Thailand's immigration police, said Glitter has been confined to a transit lounge at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport while officials tried to persuade him to leave the country.

Chatchawal said Glitter was denied entry because under Thai immigration laws those convicted of child sex abuse in a foreign country can be barred.

"Officials concerned are working through the process of putting him on the plane to take him out of the country, but if he continues to refuse to leave then he will be confined in the (airport transit) area temporarily before being taken into a detention center," he said.

Col. Puttipong said Glitter was in a "good mood" despite waiting in transit for almost 20 hours, laughing and talking with police who tried to persuade him to board a flight out of the country.

Police Maj. Gen. Phongdej Chaiprawat, head of immigration at the airport, said it was the responsibility of the airline on which Glitter entered the country, to get him out of Thailand.

Glitter, 64, was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children." He served two years and nine months of a three-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.

The incidents involved two girls, ages 10 and 11, from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau.

In a recent interview with Vietnamese newspaper Cong An Nhan Dan — People's Police — Glitter said he was thinking about resuming his singing career and that he might move to Hong Kong or Singapore. His lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh, has said Glitter does not want to return to Britain.

In his 1970s heyday, Glitter performed in glittery jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs. He sold 18 million records and recorded a string of British top-10 hits.

His most successful song, the crowd-pleasing anthem "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," cracked the top 10 in the United States.

Glitter's fall from grace began in 1997, when he brought his laptop computer to a repair shop and an employee there discovered he had downloaded thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children. Two years later, British authorities convicted him of possession of child pornography, and Glitter served half of his four-month jail term.

In November 2005, police in Vietnam launched a weeklong manhunt for Glitter after allegations arose that he had been molesting girls at his seaside villa in Vung Tau. He was arrested at the Ho Chi Minh City airport.

He was convicted in March 2006 in a verdict that said that Glitter had molested the girls repeatedly at his villa and in nearby hotels.

Although Glitter proclaimed his innocence, he was sentenced to three years in prison and given credit for time already served. His sentence was reduced by three months last year for good behavior during Vietnam's annual Lunar New Year prison amnesty.