Dutch pedophile Pieter Ceulen was arrested in Brussels early on Thursday morning upon alighting from an overnight flight from Phnom Penh, and was then transferred to a prison in Antwerp, according to a Belgian NGO worker.
Mr. Ceulen, 60, a wealthy asset manager and serial child abuser who once split his time between Belgium and Cambodia, was arrested in Phnom Penh last week and deported on Wednesday evening.
“He has arrived at Brussels airport at seven o’clock in [the] morning and when he left the plane on the tarmac he was taken by the Belgian police to Antwerp,” said Dirk Depover, chief of investigations at the Belgian NGO Child Focus.
In January, Mr. Ceulen was sentenced to 19 years in prison by a court in Antwerp for producing a vast collection of child pornography and sexually abusing multiple minors—including newborn babies and his adopted Cambodian daughters.
He was not in custody at the time of his conviction, however, and fled to Cambodia around the same time. Subsequently placed on Interpol’s list of most-wanted criminals, he turned himself in to authorities in Phnom Penh last Friday after nearly two months on the run.
He is scheduled to appear in court to appeal his conviction on May 12, according to Mr. Depover.
Uk Heisela, director of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said Mr. Ceulen almost missed his Interpol-arranged flight to Belgium on Wednesday evening.
“We finished processing the documents at about 6 p.m., then our police rushed to bring the suspect to the airport because there was so little time remaining before the plane departed,” he said, explaining that officials had been waiting on Interior Minister Sar Kheng to sign off on the deportation order.
According to James McCabe, chief of operations for the Child Protection Unit, an arm of the Cambodian Children’s Fund that formed a special task force with police to search for Mr. Ceulen, the pedophile was apprehended in a car near Independence Monument after arranging with Mr. McCabe to surrender.
“He was in direct contact with me. His only phone calls he made were to me via the instructions given to him the previous night,” Mr. McCabe said this week.
Despite owning multiple properties in Cambodia, the sex offender had likely grown weary of “life on the run,” he said, adding that Mr. Ceulen moved between at least four provinces after arriving in Cambodia following his conviction.
“Anyone with his previous wealth and his freedoms and enjoying a lifestyle that is beyond most of us would find the reclusive life on the run very daunting.”