Gary Glitter Back in Cambodia Despite Ban Country Ban

Fallen 1970s British rock star Gary Glitter, who was convicted in Britain on child pornography charges, is back in Cam­bo­dia, his lawyer said Monday.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, has been defending his right to stay in Cambodia at Phnom Penh Municipal Court since Oct 15, said Naryth Hem of BNG Advocates and Solicitors.

Glitter was deported from Cam­­bodia in December following a campaign launched by Min­is­ter of Wo­men’s Affairs Mu So­chua, who claimed the country’s in­­ternational image was being damaged by the disgraced rock star’s presence.

Glitter has committed no crime in Cambodia and is now seeking to overturn the government’s ban on his residency, his lawyer said.

“So far the government did not provide enough evidence to expel him,” Naryth Hem said.

Glitter has been summoned by the court to fight his case, Naryth Hem said. The former singer en­tered the country sometime be­­fore Oct 15 on a short-term vi­sa, he added.

“We have been handling the case since the day he was ex­pelled,” Naryth Hem said.

Naryth Hem could not confirm whether Glitter entered the country at a border crossing or at one of the country’s two in­ternational airports.

In 1999, Glitter was sentenced in Britain to four months behind bars after pleading guilty to child porn charges over a collection of 4,000 hard-core photos of boys and girls between the ages of

2 and 10. The images were discovered when Glitter sent his computer for repair.

The singer of “I’m the Leader of the Gang” and “Do You Wanna Touch” returned to Cambodia about a month ago, according to im­­migration officials, Glitter’s neighbors and a member of his do­mestic staff.

In January, Interior Ministry spokes­man Khieu Sopheak said Glit­ter would never be allowed back into the country. Khieu So­pheak could not be reached for com­ment on Monday.

Glitter is currently based at a dis­creet but luxurious riverside man­sion in semi-rural Kandal province’s Takhmau district, about 20 km from Phnom Penh, neighbors said Sunday.

Glitter has never committed any crimes in Cambodia, according to a man who guards and takes care of the lavish house built in traditional Khmer style.

“Now he’s old, and he only wishes to live peacefully,” the care­­taker said. “He has not committed any problems here.”

Glitter swims in his outdoor pool and likes to jog daily, he said Sunday, adding that the singer writes up to three hours a day.

Glitter is now hoping to open a local business, neighbors said.                         But, one neighbor said, “he still hesitates to invest because the political parties have yet to reach an agreement” on the formation of a new government.

The caretaker said he lives in Glitter’s mansion while the singer is away, and in a stilt house on the grounds when Glitter is in residence.

The caretaker’s wife, bro­ther, father and two sons, ages 18 and 13, all live on the grounds of Glitter’s home, the caretaker said.

“That’s him,” the neighbor said, referring to a recent photo of Glit­ter. “But now he has his hair cut short.”

“I know him only as Gary Glit­ter,” he said. “That’s his car,” he added, pointing to a black Suzuki jeep on the other side of a rusted barbed-wire fence. “He lives there…. He’s been here almost a month.”

Neighbors were unaware of Glit­­ter’s conviction and were un­moved when they were in­formed.

One man said Glitter is friendly, despite speaking little Khmer. “He comes and goes—there are no problems,” he said.

“He’s not involved with any girls…. I think he’s a good guy. I feel he wants to help Cambodia.”

Mu Sochua voiced strong concern after hearing of Glitter’s re­turn to Cambodia.

“He should not be given one day, one minute on Cambodian ter­­ritory, as far as rights of children are concerned,” she said. “I think it is a shame that the government would have to deal with a person with a background of pe­do­­philia” by going to court to fight over his right to stay.

John Mitchell, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, de­clined to comment on whether  the embassy had known Glit­­ter was in Cambodia. “The re­spon­si­bility for who comes in and out of the country rests with the Cambodian authorities,” he said.             The em­bas­sy will not be in­volved in Glit­ter’s court case. “These are mat­ters for the Cambodian authorities.” he said. “It’s not for us to in­ter­fere in the judicial process of another country.”

 

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