Although fugitive Dutch pedophile Pieter Ceulen has likely returned to Siem Reap City—where he lived intermittently for years while preying on children, infants and even his own adopted daughters—authorities have yet to issue a warrant for his arrest, according to a police official.
In 2012, the FBI discovered more than 400,000 files containing child pornography on Mr. Ceulen’s computer in Belgium, according to Belgian media, prompting an investigation that led to his conviction in absentia there in January. Although not in custody at the time, the wealthy 60-year-old was sentenced to 19 years in prison for producing child pornography and sexually abusing minors, including newborn babies and daughters he adopted while living in Siem Reap.
But when authorities went to arrest him at his home in Belgium, he had disappeared. He has since been added to Interpol’s list of most-wanted persons.
Duong Thavary, chief of the Siem Reap provincial police’s anti-human trafficking bureau, said on Tuesday that both national and local police officials had been following the case closely, but despite intelligence suggesting the pedophile had returned to the provincial capital, her officers had not received an arrest warrant.
“We know he is living in this city,” she said, later clarifying that she was “90 percent sure.”
“Our police have not received an arrest warrant from the National Police yet, but we are observing for signs of the suspect, as we heard he is in Siem Reap,” she said, declining to elaborate.
National Police spokesman Saran Komsath declined to comment and referred questions to Kirth Chantharith, another spokesman, who could not be reached. Provincial police chief Sort Nady and his deputy, Thong Sokhun, also said they had not received an arrest warrant and refused to answer further questions.
Dirk Depover, chief of communications at the Belgian NGO Child Focus, which advocated on behalf of Mr. Ceulen’s victims during the trial, said on Tuesday that the organization had written to King Norodom Sihamoni on the subject of the pedophile’s disappearance.
“It requests action on the case, indicating the man is convicted for serious offenses…and the case in Belgian society has caused a lot of uproar,” he said, noting that Belgian police had been in contact with their Cambodian counterparts.
“The police in Cambodia should be aware of the facts,” he said.
Like Ms. Thavary and Samleang Seila, director of child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants—which assisted Belgian authorities in identifying Cambodian children in Mr. Ceulen’s vast pornography collection—Mr. Depover said the man was likely back in Cambodia.
“Several sources indicated that he probably fled to Cambodia,” he said without elaborating.
Belgian journalist Pieter Huyberechts, who has been covering the case for the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, said Mr. Ceulen’s lawyer had appealed the sentence, and that a hearing was scheduled for May 12.