Weeks after Siem Reap provincial immigration police deported an Australian man wanted by Interpol to Bangkok, he was placed on Thursday in a Thai immigration prison and is expected to be extradited to his home country in the coming days.
Guido Eglitis, a 69-year-old private investigator, was charged with stealing the passport and camera of a British national in Siem Reap in October last year while posing as an Interpol agent, provincial immigration police said at the time.
When he was released after serving a year-long sentence in the provincial prison and deported on October 25, immigration police did not return him to Australia, despite his presence on Interpol’s wanted list for a 2007 incident in which he attempted to detain a man.
Mr. Eglitis was seen in recent weeks patronizing Bangkok bars, according to Australian news reports.
Sanguan Sin, a police colonel in Thailand’s Interpol office, said officials in Bangkok were alerted the day that Mr. Eglitis’ arrived in the country. They called him into the immigration police office on Thursday to revoke his visa, acting on a July 2014 Interpol warrant issued by Australia, he said.
“We have the system to warn when someone has the warrant from another foreign country,” he said. “We just help coordination with Australian police in Bangkok and from Australia, because we have the Interpol notice.”
Mr. Eglitis was placed in the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center and would be deported in the next “two to three days,” Mr. Sanguan said.
“We are just waiting for the papers,” he added. “We will deport him.”
Kol Komar, Cambodia’s Interpol country director, said on Thursday that he had “no idea” about Mr. Eglitis’ case.
On Wednesday, the Queensland Police Service in Australia confirmed that officials had been working on returning him to Australia to face the charges.
“The Queensland Police Service is continuing to make inquiries into the possible extradition of a 69-year-old man in relation to a deprivation of liberty investigation in South Brisbane in 2007,” they said in an email naming the suspect as Mr. Eglitis. “International extradition processes are typically complex, time-consuming and in many cases, dependent on jurisdictional agreements.”
Sam Priset, the deputy chief of immigration administration at the Siem Reap airport, said on Thursday that he had allowed Mr. Eglitis to leave the country on the orders of his boss, Sok Phal, head of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department.
“I got an order to leave him at the Siem Reap airport. I don’t know why my boss, head of immigration, ordered him to go there,” he said.
“For me, I’m in charge of only the airport,” he added. “I just open the gate for him to get out of Cambodia, so what country he wants to go, I don’t know.”
Neither General Phal nor Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, could be reached for comment.
Mr. Eglitis said he had been working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for years assisting in investigations—one resulting in the 2007 charges, which he said were wrongly laid. In that case, he was accused of posing as a federal police officer in order to detain a businessman allegedly involved in a Ponzi-like scheme in which investors lost millions of dollars.
He had legally left Australia afterward, he said.
“I was released after a month,” he said on Thursday from Bangkok. “On the night of my release, my passport was given back to me and…I was advised it was better that I leave.”
In Cambodia, he said he had continued working with Australian police to track fugitives abroad. He was attempting to gather fingerprints for them when he was wrongfully accused of stealing the camera and passport, he said.
After serving the prison sentence for the charges, he said he was deported and told not to return to Cambodia.
“I just had to leave the country. They gave me about six hours,” he said during an interview in the days following his release. He said he chose to go to Bangkok in order to continue pursuing Australian criminals.
On Wednesday, he contacted the AFP to provide updates on his investigations, he said on Thursday, then was called to the immigration office and had his visa revoked.
“I’ve not run away from anything, and I’ll stand by that forever,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Buth Kimsay)
retka@cambodiadaily.com
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