Four foreigners held in Thailand on paedophile charges

12th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The foreigners, all long-term expatriates in Thailand, were seized in Pattaya as part of a joint manhunt with a British charity.

Bangkok -- Thai police arrested two Britons, an American and a German in a southern beach resort on Thursday on suspicion of sexually abusing young boys, police said.

The foreigners, ages between 45 and 66 and all long-term expatriates in Thailand, were seized in Pattaya as part of a joint manhunt with a British charity.

Police named them as Malcolm Henry Payne, 59, and Robert Alexander Horsman, 45, both from Britain; Robert Roy Lond, 62, from the United States; and 66-year-old Fritz Deiter Blattner, from Germany.

"They were arrested this morning in Pattaya for paying young Thai boys for sexual activities," Thai police Lieutenant Colonel Manas Thongsrimuang told AFP.

The four men will face charges of sexual abuse, illegal detention for a sexual purpose, and physical and mental torture of underage boys.

If convicted they could each face up to 20 years in jail.

One of the alleged victims is aged 10, one is under 15, and the other two were between 15 and 18 years old, Manas said.

A 30-year-old Thai national was also arrested for soliciting the boys on behalf of the men.

The arrests came as a result of a joint operation between the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) center -- which works in Thailand and London -- and Thai police.

The investigation was triggered by CEOP in Britain, which said it had discovered an online paedophile network involving people residing in Thailand.

"We have a duty to protect every child, everywhere," Jim Gamble, CEOP's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"The Royal Thai Police have demonstrated an unerring commitment to making Thailand a hostile environment for UK offenders."

Thailand has become the focus of international concerns over the sexual abuse of children following a series of paedophile arrests.

Canadian Christopher Paul Neil was tracked down to Thailand in October last year after Interpol reconstructed a series of digitally "swirled" Internet images of a man abusing boys.

The former teacher has since been sentenced to a total of nine years in jail for abusing two brothers.


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