Former UK Rock Star, Convicted for Child Molestation in Vietnam, Set to Face More Humiliation Back Home

by Gopalan on Aug 21 2008 5:17 PM

The child molestation saga continues to haunt former UK star Gary Glitter, even after his release from a Vietnamese prison. Much as he wants to avoid returning home, he may have no option.

He is currently in the transit lounge of Bangkok, but Thailand won’t admit him in. He wanted to go Hong Kong, but it too has said ‘No.’

Consequently he is in a kind of limbo, but could be forced to go back to England, where he could face all sorts of problems.

Gary Glitter, 64, was deported Tuesday from Ho Chi Minh City.

He was scheduled to switch flights in Bangkok, Thailand, en route to England.

But Glitter refused to board the connecting flight, and Thai immigration officials would not let him clear customs.

The singer demanded to be taken to hospital claiming he was suffering a heart attack and earache.

But Thai immigration officials declared Glitter "persona non grata" and said that he posed a "threat to domestic morality". Hence they were not going to host him, whatever the circumstances.

So he remained confined in the transit lounge of Bangkok's international airport while officials tried to negotiate with him.

He then attempted to fly to Hong Kong, but it refused him entry too and so he was back in Thailand Thursday afternoon.

A Thai immigration official told CNN that the country was not budging from its decision not to let him in.

``We don't allow him entry,'' Voravat Amornvivat, head of immigration police at Bangkok international airport, told Bloomberg. ``We just spoke with Thai Airways and they will put him on a flight to London tonight.''

Glitter, born Paul Gadd, was a rock institution during the 1970s - topping the music charts multiple times.

He is best known for a stadium anthem song called "Rock and Roll (Part 2)." The song -- with its one-word chorus "Hey" -- is played at professional sporting events around the world.

He gained fame not only for his music but for his crazy outfits and wild performances.

But his music stopped in March 2006 when he was convicted in Vietnam of sexually abusing two Vietnamese girls when they were ages 9 and 11.

He served a 33-month prison term in Vietnam and was released Tuesday. His sentence called for his deportation upon release and hence his arrival at Bangkok.

He was arrested in England in November 1997 after pornographic images of children were found on the hard drive of his home computer when he took it in for repairs. He served two months of a four-month jail term in 1999 after pleading guilty to downloading child pornography.

The former singer then traveled to Cuba before living in Cambodia for seven months. He left Cambodia in 2002 following a campaign to deport him. Glitter denied the charges in Vietnam, saying he was teaching the girls English.

He said in an interview from prison with a Vietnamese newspaper that he wanted to record a new album and had no desire to return to the U.K., preferring to move to Hong Kong or Singapore. But it looks like he will have to return to face humiliation in his native country.

British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Aug. 19 that Glitter would be ``controlled'' if he returned to the U.K. She announced plans to tighten restrictions on convicted child sex offenders, including barring them from overseas travel for as long as five years and seizing their passports.

Miss Smith said that his previous record for sex tourism meant "he shouldn't be travelling anywhere in the world".

He is likely to be given a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO), which could prevent him going near schools and play areas and from owning a computer. Breaching the order carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

The decision would be made by police but Miss Smith made clear that she wanted to make an example of Glitter.

She said: "I want Gary Glitter to be controlled whilst he's here and I don't want him to be able to go anywhere else in the world in order to abuse children."

Reports say that he earns more than £50,000 a year in royalties, as well as income from a rental property in London.

But he still wants to avail of free medical treatment on the NHS for his heart condition and problems with his hearing, it is said. In that sense at least, returning home might do him some good.