London, Aug 20 : English rock and pop singer Gary Glitter released from Vietnam prison feigned a heart attack to escape returning to London.
Glitter, who had been jailed in Vietnam in 2006 for obscene acts with two girls aged 10 and 11, was released from the Thu Duc prison in Binh Thuan province on August 19.
Vietnamese authorities, who planned to deport Glitter immediately back to London, handed him over to British authorities at the Ton Son Nhat airport.
On the flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, Glitter avoided the 20 or so press representatives, choosing to sit down next to the Sun's reporter, Virginia Wheeler, and he is said to have stroked her arm and called her "sweetie".
"Tell me, sweetie, what is the weather like in England? I'm not used to the cold any more. I've got so used to the heat in Asia," the Sun quoted Glitter as having said to Wheeler.
"I'm so happy to be going back to England. I've been waiting for this day a long, long time.
"England is my home. It's where my heart is and where my family are. I can't wait to see them. God bless them all," he said.
Glitter also insisted on his innocence and stated that he would be "welcomed back to England as a music hero".
"God, am I happy to be leaving Vietnam and that jail. I should never have been in there. It has been a nightmare. Every second. I was set up, that's all I will say," he stated "But you wait. All the time I've been inside I've been preparing for my book. It's all here in my head.
"I'm an innocent man and my book will show you that. I'm not worried at all about coming home to England.
"Why would I be? I'm an innocent man. I think people realise that. I think I'll be made welcome. That's all I will say. Take care of yourself," he added.
But once the plane landed in Thailand, the 64-year-old singer changed his behaviour and deliberately failed to board a connecting flight to London.
His request to Thai authorities to let him enter the country was refused, making him wave his papers from his Vietnamese lawyer, saying he was a free man and that he wanted to travel to Singapore.
Thai authorities then told Glitter that there was no flight to the country until much later, leaving him with no option but to claim that he was having a heart attack.
Two Thai cops escorted him to an airport VIP area that had small bedrooms and he rented one for eight hours for 100 pounds.
British police and Home Office officials have no jurisdiction to force him on to a flight to the UK, and with a passport issued by the British consulate in Ho Chi Minh City last November, he can travel anywhere a British citizen can go without a visa.
If Glitter returns to Britain he will be put on the Sex Offenders Register, and could face a tax probe into his secret fortune.