A British man on the run from a six-year prison sentence for sexually abusing multiple boys in the U.K. was deported from Cambodia on Tuesday morning, an official said.
Damien Midgley, 39, was arrested in Siem Reap City last week over an expired passport and visa. He was later identified by the British Embassy as a wanted child abuser, according to police.
“We deported him at about 8:15 a.m. this morning, and British police came to pick him up at the airport” in Siem Reap, said Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department.
British authorities footed the bill for Mr. Midgley’s flight and escorted him to the U.K., he said.
“When he arrives in his own country, the British court…will send him to prison to serve his sentence, because he was already convicted,” Major General Heisela said. “He fled the country after the British [authorities] attempted to arrest him, and he was convicted in absentia to six years in prison.”
“He was involved in the sexual abuse of boys under 15 years old,” he said, adding that at least two of the boys were abused by Mr. Midgley in 2012 and early 2013 while he was working as a horseback-riding instructor in the U.K.
According to a December 2014 article published in The Press, a newspaper based in York, England, Mr. Midgley was released on bail before being charged and convicted in absentia.
Maj. Gen. Heisela said Mr. Midgley fled to Thailand in late 2013 and crossed into Cambodia in 2014. Since then, he said, the Briton had been working as an I.T. instructor.
In May 2015, a travel agency contacted the immigration department and requested a business visa for Mr. Midgley, and the department issued one for him, he said.
Then, in early February, the same travel agency requested a visa extension on Mr. Midgley’s behalf but was instructed to see that his passport was renewed first, as it was due to expire at the end of the month, he said.
When the immigration department did not hear from Mr. Midgley or the travel agency, Maj. Gen. Heisela said he ordered authorities to search for him in Siem Reap.
Mr. Midgley was arrested last week when locals tipped off police to his whereabouts, he said.
“If he had simply…overstayed in Cambodia, we would have banned him [from entering Cambodia] for two or three years, but this guy was involved in pedophilia,” he said.
“So we consider him a danger to Cambodian children…and we need to ban him forever.”
sokhean@cambodiadaily.com
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