Global hunt for suspected child abuser launched by INTERPOL ends in Thailand

19 October 2007

LYON, France – International co-ordination between police on three continents has led to the arrest of Christopher Paul NEIL in Thailand just 10 days after INTERPOL launched a worldwide appeal to identify an unknown man photographed sexually abusing young boys.

The Royal Thai Police arrested the 32-year-old Canadian in Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast region of the country today, 19 October, just one day after issuing an arrest warrant and requesting an INTERPOL Red Notice, an international wanted persons notice.

“I want to commend the Royal Thai Police for the swift and decisive actions that led to NEIL’s arrest and those local citizens who helped to identify and locate this suspected predator in a civil manner,” said INTERPOL’s Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“This is but one example of how co-operation between INTERPOL, its police partners in 186 member countries and the public can work together to bring international criminals to justice.

“Today’s arrest sends a clear message to those men who think they can travel to Southeast Asia to abuse innocent children: there is no longer any such place as a safe haven for paedophiles; there is no such thing as anonymity; and there is no escape.”

On October 8, INTERPOL launched its first-ever global appeal for assistance to identify an unknown man featured in a series of around 200 photographs in which he was shown sexually abusing young children. Nearly 400 people worldwide responded, with five different sources all naming Christopher Paul NEIL as a potential match.

Police work on the ground quickly established that NEIL had fled his home in South Korea. He was last seen on 11 October arriving at Bangkok International Airport in Thailand.

Close co-operation between the Royal Thai Police and INTERPOL led to the identification of a previously unknown victim who confirmed to police that he had been abused by NEIL, which enabled Thai authorities to issue an arrest warrant. NEIL was arrested 24 hours later.

“That NEIL is in Thai police custody just 10 days after INTERPOL’s appeal to identify a man whose name, nationality and whereabouts were unknown is an outstanding achievement due to the co-operation between the police, the public and the media” said Head of INTERPOl’s liaison office in Bangkok, Colonel Panaspong Sirawongse.