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The Minnesota Daily

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Thai police trying to find Canadian pedophile suspect through friends

.BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Thai police said Wednesday they were trying to trace a Canadian school teacher accused of pedophilia through his network of friends in the country and expressed confidence he would not escape their dragnet.

Christopher Paul Neil, 32, is the target of a global manhunt for allegedly sexually abusing at least a dozen Cambodian and Vietnamese boys, some as young as 6 years old. He has been a teacher in Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam.

Border guards in Thailand and neighboring countries were on alert in case Neil tried to leave Thailand. Cameras at the immigration counter captured him arriving at Bangkok’s international airport Thursday from South Korea.

Police Col. Apichart Suribunya, who is coordinating the Thai investigation, said authorities were trying to collect enough evidence to get an arrest warrant from a Thai court.

“We are quite certain he is still in Thailand and we think we are moving closer,” Apichart said. “Even if he uses a fake passport to try to get out of the country, his pictures are already published everywhere.”

“We are also trying to find more information and investigate his connections in Thailand that he made during his previous stay so we can get closer to him and his network of friends,” he added.

The hunt for Neil began three years ago when German police discovered about 200 online photographs of a man sexually abusing children. His face was digitally obscured, but a breakthrough in the case came when German police were able to reconstruct a recognizable image of the man who has eluded police for years.

Interpol officials said they believed a page on MySpace was created by Neil.

“Been kicking around Asia for the past five years, teaching mainly and finding other forms of mischief,” read his profile, which also described him as “5 feet, 11 inches tall, slim and slender.”

“I love teaching, can’t get enough of it really,” the entry says, going on to describe his love of drama, musicals and karaoke.

Friends described Neil as fun to be around. Co-workers gave mixed reviews of his teaching skills, but all described a man they believed to be harmless.

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