Source AP ©

Police start pedophile hunt in Canada

Canadian man is wanted for sexually abusing children. Police is less interested in arrests of other alleged sex offenders.

Police in the Thai beach resort town of Pattaya issued an arrest warrant for Orville Frank Mader, 54, of British Columbia after an 8-year-old Thai boy said he had been lured to his room and then sexually abused. Police believe Mader abused at least three other boys.

The problem of Western pedophiles was freshly spotlighted with the Oct. 19 arrest of Canadian Christopher Paul Neil on charges of having sex with several young Asian boys.

The cases illustrate how child pornography and child sexual abuse continue to flourish in the region, despite strengthened laws and lobbying efforts by child protection groups.

Several Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, are popular with pedophiles due to lax law enforcement, corruption in the justice system and the easy availability of young boys and girls who are forced into prostitution by poverty.

Mader was arrested by police in Cambodia in 2004 on charges of sexually abusing two boys, ages 11 and 14, but the case apparently did not go to court. Cambodian officials said at the time that he used to teach English in Japan. His current occupation is unknown.

Neil was captured by Thai police after Interpol initiated an unprecedented worldwide appeal to identify and apprehend him.

Interpol began its manhunt after finding about 200 pictures on the Internet of Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese boys being sexually abused by a man whose face was digitally obscured.

After German police computer experts unscrambled the photos so the man's face was recognizable, Interpol circulated them publicly. Tip-offs led them to identify Neil as a suspect. He has been charged with child sexual abuse, and remains in police custody.

On Wednesday, police said they may begin making background checks on foreign teachers in Thailand, who have been implicated in several cases.

"It shouldn't be enough to wear white shirts and have a university degree. We need to know their background," said police Col. Apichart Suribunya, head of Thailand's liaison office for Interpol, the international police agency.

Neil has also worked as a teacher in Asia, as has Paul Cornelius Jones, 39, a Briton who was arrested Tuesday after police raided his Bangkok apartment and found a computer containing photos of naked boys and girls.

Thai police acted on a tip-off from their British counterparts, who told them Jones had been sending photos of naked children to Britain over the Internet, said Apichart. The British government's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said he was a registered sex offender in his homeland.

Jones, of Cardiff, Wales, has been charged with distributing pornographic photographs of children under age 15, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, Apichart said.

"This is not a new problem. These few high-profile cases involved Western men. We have a lot of cases that involve Thai teachers, too," Montri Sinthawichai, a child rights advocate for Thailand's Foundation of Children's Protection, said Thursday.

"It's the most obvious profession to choose if you are attracted to children. They can be close to the kids and they don't even have to force them. In a lot of cases we see, they convince the kids into thinking they are benefiting from it. The kids don't even realized they are being exploited and those are the most dangerous cases."

In another recent case, a 74-year-old British man was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy. Hundreds of photos and pornographic videos of naked boys and men were found when Alan Charles Mawson, of Barrow-in-Furness, was arrested on Oct. 23 in his apartment in Pattaya, said police Capt. Sorakit Thanyasri.

Mawson was charged with sexual abuse of a child under 15. He denied the charge, Sorakit said.

Thailand and Cambodia figured in another case announced Wednesday by French police.

They said they arrested 20 people in October as part of a European-wide crackdown on people who shared child pornography over the Internet, and three of those rounded up were suspected of having abused children during trips abroad.

Three of the French suspects were believed to have appeared in child pornography shot abroad, principally in Cambodia, said police, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press..

A former French doctor who moved to Thailand after being thrown out of France's order of doctors was a suspect, police said. He was taken into custody when he returned to France recently, police said.