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Pedophile suspect taught in Korea

  PLAY AUDIO

Oct 17,2007
An accused pedophile who is the object of an international manhunt fled for Thailand last week from Korea, where he had been teaching English at a school in Gwangju.
The suspect, whose picture was originally posted on the Web site of Interpol on Oct. 8, has been identified as Christopher Paul Neil of Canada.
Interpol said Neil is believed to have sexually abused at least 12 different boys in Vietnam and Cambodia in 2002 or 2003, based on some 200 photos circulating on the Internet.
The suspect had been working as an English and social studies teacher at Kwangju Foreign School in Gwangju, an unidentified official at the national immigration service said.
Another Canadian English teacher in Gwangju said that Neil had been working at the school since August.
The school declined to comment.
Apparently well-known among English teachers, Neil’s naming as a suspect was the subject of heated commentary on Dave’s ESL Cafe, a popular Web site for foreigners teaching English in Korea.
A woman who claimed to be a friend of Neil’s told the JoongAng Daily that she had identified his picture on the Interpol site and informed the agency of his identity. “I sent a message on Oct. 9 to Interpol.”
National Police Agency sources said they had been informed of Neil’s identity by Interpol last week but he left the country for Thailand before they could apprehend him.
The woman, who refused to give her name, said she met Neil when they were both teaching in southern Gyeonggi two or three years ago. She contacted the JoongAng Daily after reading a post on Dave’s ESL Cafe seeking information on Neil.
Neil was somewhat awkward, she said, but not “unusual,” and his behavior had not raised any suspicions. “Actually, he was gentle and liked to socialize,” she said. “My friends and I went out regularly with this guy.”
On the Dave’s ESL Cafe Web site several posters identified Neil as a visitor who used the name “Peter Jackson” when he posted messages.
In one post, “Jackson” discussed whether police clearances were needed to obtain working visas in Korea. “Public schools will want one,” the post said, “but you should be able to stall them. I never gave a police check for my last public school job.”
Neil’s friend said police checks were frequently on his mind. “He talked about background checks. He said he would tell the school to wait [for documents] and then eventually the school would forget about it.”


By Hwang Young-jin Staff Writer[yhwang@joongang.co.kr]



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