The presence in Cambodia of fallen rock star and convicted sex offender Paul Francis Gadd continues to cause a “headache” for the government and police—one that could have been avoided, government officials and watchdogs said Tuesday and Wednesday.
In what she calls a “preventive measure,” Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua sent a letter to co-Ministers of Interior You Hockry and Sar Kheng requesting the deportation of Gadd, who is also known by his stage name, Gary Glitter.
“We are concerned about the presence of Paul Gadd in Cambodia,” Mu Sochua said. “It is our recommendation to the Ministry of Interior that they take measures to discontinue the visa of Paul Gadd as soon as possible as a preventive measure to protect the welfare of the children.”
Sar Kheng said he knew of the letter but had not yet received it. “After I receive it, I will consider it first before taking any action,” he said.
Municipal Foreigner Police Chief Pol Phiethey said Wednesday he is still waiting for information on Gadd from British authorities and added that the case is now being handled by the international police group Interpol.
Gadd’s lawyer, Ouk Ry, has said that Gadd intends to stay in Cambodia, Pol Phiethey said. Ouk Ry declined to comment on Wednesday.
Gadd had been living quietly in Phnom Penh for the past six months until a British tabloid alerted authorities to his presence last month. Gadd was convicted in 1999 in Britain on 54 counts of downloading pornographic images of children onto his computer.
In June 2000, Mu Sochua was at the forefront of a drive to establish a blacklist banning convicted sex offenders from entering the country. At the time, the proposed blacklist was condemned by some human rights monitors as denying people due process in the legal system.
Stopping short of calling for a renewed drive to establish the blacklist, Mu Sochua said, “If the Ministry of Interior were working with Interpol, this man would never have entered this country to begin with. Now we have a headache.” She added that if a blacklist were established, “It is my understanding and my hope that Mr Paul Gadd’s name would be on [such a] blacklist.”
Laurence Gray of the NGO World Vision suggested that better communication between police and immigration authorities could accomplish the same thing.
Countries with the capacity to track known sex offenders ought to notify police and border officials in other countries about the travel plans of those people, he said.
“Countries have every right to refuse entry,” Gray said.
World Vision is currently involved in a two-year cooperative program with the Ministry of Tourism to combat child sex tourism.
Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth called a blacklist “logical.”
“Blacklists have been widely used in other countries. This would be the same principle,” he said. “We must be careful so that criminals in other countries are not welcome in [Cambodia].”
(Additional reporting by Thet Sambath)