Frenchman Patrick Henri Devillers, who left Cambodia last week to provide information to Chinese authorities in a high-profile political investigation, is now in the Beijing area and being visited by consulate staff from the French Embassy, a diplomatic official confirmed yesterday.
Mr. Devillers, 52, left Cambodia-where he had been held for more than a month over his links to deposed Chinese politician Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai-on a Tuesday-night fight for Shanghai.
Tristan Dufes, deputy press counselor at the French Embassy in Beijing, said that Mr. Devillers was in or near to the Chinese capital.
“What I can confirm is that two of my colleagues went to visit him this weekend and he seemed in good shape,” he said.
Mr. Dufes said he could not confirm Mr. Devillers’ precise location, or whether he is in detention, but said that the officials that visited him were from the embassy in Beijing.
Mr. Devillers is thought to be in the custody of Chinese authorities, but no one in China has released any information as to his whereabouts or legal situation since his flight from Phnom Penh.
Last week, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that China had agreed to allow Mr. Devillers to return to Cambodia after 60 days. The French Foreign Ministry last week said that Mr. Devillers had agreed to go to China in exchange for certain guarantees, though it is still unknown what those conditions are. Prior to his departure, Cambodian police officials made Mr. Devillers publicly declare via a YouTube video that he was leaving of his own accord.
Mr. Devillers has personal and business links to Ms. Gu, who is currently detained in China and accused of the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in November. It is thought Mr. Devillers is suspected of helping Ms. Gu to move money out of China.