Frenchman Patrick Henri Devillers, 52, who left Cambodia in July to assist a high-profile murder investigation in China, is now back in Phnom Penh after returning quietly in recent weeks.
Mr. Devillers appeared outside one of his Phnom Penh residences yesterday in a gold-colored Lexus SUV, but drove away after seeing reporters. Approached by a reporter near a second residence in the city, Mr. Devillers said that he did not want to comment about this recent experience in China.
“I don’t want to talk to you…. I don’t want to talk to anyone,” Mr. Devillers said.
Mr. Devillers is thought to have had a personal and business relationship with Gu Kailai-the wife of former Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai. Ms. Gu has been convicted of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in November.
Mr. Bo was dismissed from his position in April as Chinese state media implicated Ms. Gu in the murder of Mr. Heywood, and he is reportedly still under investigation for unspecified “disciplinary violations.”
Mr. Devillers-who has a partner and children in Phnom Penh as well as business interests here-was detained by Cambodian authorities on June 13 after a request from Chinese authorities. After being detained more than a month in Phnom Penh, during which time French officials said Mr. Devillers received unspecified guarantees from Chinese authorities, he left Phnom Penh on a flight bound for Shanghai on July 17.
According to Cambodian officials, Mr. Devillers’ return to Cambodia came around the time that Ms. Gu’s trial concluded on Aug. 20, with a court in China’s eastern Anhui giving her a suspended death sentence for Mr. Heywood’s murder.
It is unclear what assistance Mr. Devillers gave to the Chinese authorities. According to news reports he did not appear in court and was not mentioned during the proceedings.
Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that Mr. Devillers arrived back in Cambodia about two weeks ago.
Lt. Gen. Sopheak said Mr. Devillers was free to live in Cambodia. “He came by himself,” he said.
“He already fulfilled his responsibilities in China, so he came back to Cambodia,” added Deputy National Police Chief Sok Phal.