China refuses to let Gary Glitter into Hong Kong
By Min Lee
HONG KONG (AP) — British glam rocker Gary Glitter, who served nearly three years in a Vietnamese prison for molesting children, was denied entry to Hong Kong after refusing to return to England, officials said Wednesday.
Glitter flew to Hong Kong Wednesday night after staying in the transit area of Bangkok's international airport for several hours.
"The Chinese authorities have informed us that they have refused Paul Gadd entry into Hong Kong," a spokeswoman for Britain's Foreign Office said. Glitter's real name is Paul Francis Gadd.
"It's a matter for the Chinese authorities what happens next," she said.
A second Foreign Office spokesman said Glitter was interviewed by Chinese immigrations officials after arriving in Hong Kong.
Glitter was turned away "as a result of those interviews," the spokesman said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing official policy.
In a statement, the Hong Kong government said it doesn't comment on individual cases but that immigration officials would "take into consideration all relevant factors and circumstances when processing applications."
It was the third country to bar Glitter in the last two days.
On Tuesday night, Glitter was taken from his prison cell to a flight out of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. He had been booked to change planes in Bangkok en route to London.
He refused to board a flight to England, however, complaining of an earache. Thai authorities would not allow him to pass through immigration, leaving him in limbo.
Lt. Gen. Chatchawal Suksomchit, the chief of Thailand's immigration police, said Glitter was denied entry because under Thai immigration laws those convicted of child sex abuse in a foreign country can be barred.
But another officer said his department received a note from Vietnam and Interpol requesting that Glitter not be allowed entry into Thailand. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Col. Voravat Amornvivat of Thailand's Immigration Police division said officials turned Glitter over to the custody of Thai Airways Wednesday afternoon, after he agreed to travel to a third country.
Glitter, 64, was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children." He served two years and nine months of a three-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.
The incidents involved two girls, ages 10 and 11, from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau. The verdict said he had molested the girls repeatedly at his seaside villa in Vung Tau and in nearby hotels.
Although Glitter proclaimed his innocence, he was sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence was reduced by three months for good behavior.
Glitter's fall from grace began in 1997, when he took his computer to a repair shop and an employee there discovered he had downloaded thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children. Two years later, British authorities convicted him of possession of child pornography, and Glitter served half of his four-month jail term.
Glitter hit the front pages of Britain's newspapers Wednesday.
In an editorial headlined "Who'd want him?" the conservative Daily Mail said "no country in its right mind would want this pervert at large on its soil."
The news hit as British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a raft of new measures to tighten controls on people convicted of sexual offenses against children.
If Glitter ever returned to Britain, he would be met at the airport by police officers and would be placed on a sex offenders registry, which already lists about 30,000 people.
In his 1970s heyday, Glitter performed in glittery jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs. He sold 18 million records and recorded a string of British top-10 hits.
His most successful song, the crowd-pleasing anthem "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," cracked the top 10 in the United States.
Associated Press writers Watcharaporn Taithongchai in Bangkok, and Raphael G. Satter and Jennifer Quinn in London contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2008 The Associated Press
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