Report: Convict’s Plans Include Cambodia

A British citizen deported from Thailand after being convicted of sexually abusing children there plans to return to the Third World as soon as he can, published reports have stated.

James Darling, a 51-year-old former teacher, told The Express newspaper in Britain he plans to teach English to children in Cambodia, Sri Lanka or El Sal­vador.

He also told the newspaper he would catch the first plane possible to the Far East after his parents’ estate is settled and he receives an inheritance. He is the son of the late Sir Frank Darling, who was knighted in 1970 for his services as an environmentalist.

James Darling was sent back to Britain after being convicted in 1998 and sentenced to 48 years for offenses against children in Phuket, Thailand, the newspaper said. Most of the charges were overturned on appeal, although Darling still stands convicted of two counts of indecency to a young boy and one count of taking him from his parents.

Stephen Bridges, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to Cam­bodia, said that Darling has not contacted the embassy, but noted there would be no need for him to do so. He said foreign visitors deal directly with Cambodian im­migration officials.

Darling told The Express that he had “registered for work in Sri Lanka, El Salvador and Cam­bo­dia.” It was not clear whether he meant he had registered with government officials or with a private English school.

Cambodian officials say they have no record of a visa request from Darling, but virtually anyone can buy a visa on arrival in Cam­bodia. Pol Phiethey, chief of im­migration police in Phnom Penh, said his police will be on the lookout for Darling.

Mu Sochua, the Minister for Women’s Affairs, was instrumental last year in establishing a “blacklist” intended to prevent foreign sex offenders from entering Cambodia.

The list was criticized by some NGOs as unfair to people who have committed no crimes in Cam­­­bodia, whatever they may have done elsewhere.

Mu Sochua said then that preventing harm to Cambodia’s women and children outweighed the rights of foreign visitors, and noted that many countries im­pose immigration restrictions for a variety of reasons, such as infectious disease.

She said last week that the list is still in force, and her ministry has referred “about five” names to the Ministry of Interior for in­clusion on it. Interior officials in­vestigate each case before de­ciding which names get added to the list, she said.

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