With Gu Kailai Trial Over, No Word on Devillers’ Return to Cambodia

Nearly one month after he departed Cambodia for China and with the murder trial to which he was linked now over, there is still no word on whether Frenchman and Phnom Penh resident Patrick Henry Devillers, 52, will be returning to Phnom Penh.

“All I can say is that we saw him last week,” said Tristan Dufes, deputy press counselor at the French Embassy in Beijing, declining to say whether Mr. Devillers was allowed to leave China yet.

Mr. Devillers’ circumstances have been unclear since he flew from Phnom Penh to China on July 17, reportedly to help with the now complete murder trial of his business associate Gu Kailai, the wife of former Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

Dominique Mas, first counselor at the French Embassy in Phnom Penh, said he had not heard anything about Mr. Devillers’ return.

“Still in China, I guess,” Mr. Mas said in an email.

Mr. Devillers-an architect who has property and business interests in Phnom Penh, as well as children with a Cambodian woman-was detained by police on June 13. He was held for more than a month as a diplomatic tussle ensued.

Mr. Devillers’ departure was said to be voluntary and intended to aid the Chinese investigation into British businessman Neil Heywood’s murder, of which Ms. Gu was suspected.

A video released by the Cambodian National Police after his departure, clearly intended to dispel talk of Mr. Devillers being coerced into going to China, showed the Frenchman confirming that he consented to travel.

The French Foreign Ministry said at the time that Mr. Devillers had indeed expressed a wish to collaborate in the case and had received unspecified guarantees from Chinese authorities.

Ms. Gu was formally charged with the murder of Neil Heywood just over a week after Mr. Devillers departed, but it is unclear how he has cooperated with Chinese authorities.

A trial for the murder in China’s eastern city of Hefei on Aug. 9 ended in seven hours, with Ms. Gu and a bodyguard not disputing the murder charge. They have not yet been sentenced.

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