Thai warrant issued for Canadian paedophile suspect

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BANGKOK, Oct 18 (Reuters) Thai police hunting a Canadian paedophile suspect unmasked by a unique Interpol Internet appeal won an arrest warrant today after a boy accused him of paying for oral sex.

Police said a second Thai teenager alleged Christopher Paul Neil paid him for oral sex in 2003, when he was nine, giving them grounds for an arrest warrant for the Canadian fugitive who fled a teaching post in South Korea last week.

''The court just approved the request to arrest this man who paid the boy 200 baht for a blow job at his Bangkok apartment,'' Major-General Wimol Powin, head of the child crime unit, told Reuters.

Yesterday, another teenager alleged Neil molested him at his Bangkok apartment, photographed and paid him between 500 and 1,000 baht 15 dollar-30 dollar for each sex act when he was 14, Police Colonel Varayuth Sukavat said.

The young man said he was abused when he went to play computer games at Neil's apartment. He knew Neil through his father, who was hired to drive the Canadian around Bangkok and to the infamous red-light beach town of Pattaya, Varayuth said yesterday.

A security guard at the Bangkok apartment building where Neil lived when he is accused of abusing young boys, told Reuters on Thursday Neil was a ''quiet'' man.

''I sometimes saw him with four or five boys and he hardly talked to anybody,'' said the guard at the 20-storey apartment complex where an average monthly rent is 140 dollar, cheap by Bangkok standards and in an area of many massage parlours.

Two hair salons, both called ''Gay Cut'', are on the ground floor.

Neil, identified after his digitally swirled face in Internet photos of child sex abuse was unscrambled by German police computer experts, could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted in Thailand, where he taught at an English-language school.

Detectives in various countries have been trying to track down Neil since German police discovered photographs on the Internet three years ago showing him raping 12 boys in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Neil left South Korea abruptly after Interpol broadcast his photograph and flew to Thailand, where border posts were put on alert in case he tried to sneak out again and police appealed to the public to be on the lookout for him.

Police were scouring tourist hangouts for the 32-year-old Canadian, who was caught on camera arriving at Bangkok airport, officials said.

Border guards in Thailand's neighbours have also been placed on alert in case Neil tried to slip across a land frontier.

REUTERS SKB PM1505

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