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Gary Glitter Goes to Jail

Vietnam- Gary Glitter will spend at least four months in a Vietnam prison after police claimed that medical evidence has been found which corroborates claims that the former star had sex with young girls.

The public security ministry has ruled that enough evidence exists to hold the singer, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, while inquiries continue.

Nguyen Duc Trinh, deputy head of the investigative police in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, said: “We have enough evidence to charge him. There are several proofs of his crime.

“For example, the victim’s confession, his landlord’s testimony and checks on his computer and medical checkup of the victims.”

Glitter was arrested on Saturday at Ho Chi Minh City airport as he tried to leave for Thailand, following reports that he was living with a 15-year-old girl.

Mr Trinh said that investigators had since interviewed five girls alleged to have had sex with Glitter, 61, including a 12-year-old.

“Obscene acts with children is a specially serious crime,” he told reporters in Vung Tau city.

In Vietnam, anyone having sex with children under 13 is deemed to have committed child rape, which can carry the death penalty. The penalty for raping children aged 13 to 16 years is seven to 15 years in jail. The legal age of consent is 16.

Le Thanh Kinh, a lawyer acting for Glitter, said that he would seek bail for his client.

“I am arranging another meeting with him soon,” Mr Kinh said .”We are still pursuing the plan to bail him out.”

Vietnamese officials have voiced nervousness about proceeding with the case against a British citizen, but a representative of the Vung Tau people’s committee told the AFP news agency: “If we don’t bring him to court, other countries will then not respect Vietnam in the field of fighting child sex abuse.

“We don’t want the world to look at Vietnam as a new sex tourist destination, like Cambodia and Thailand.”

State newspapers have said that two girls, aged 12 and 13, had sex with Glitter several times and that he had paid them between 150,000 dong (around £5) and 300,000 dong each time. He has denied the allegations and told prosecutors that he was teaching the girls to speak English.

Paul Higham, the British High Consul in Ho Chi Minh City, met Glitter today in the Phuoc County detention centre outside Vung Tau. Glitter is being held with around 400 others, about 85 per cent of whom are awaiting trial or court appearances.

“The living condition in the centre is very poor,” said Dang Van Son, an officer at the prison. “If he wants to eat something, he gives us the money and we bring in better quality food for him.”

Glitter is reported to have told his lawyer that conditions were acceptable and he was allowed to keep 1.4 million dong (about £50) to buy extra food.

Conditions in Vietnamese jails are very different from Horfield Prison in Bristol, where he served two months in 1999 for possessing “sick and degrading” images of children. Vietnamese prisons are notorious for their squalor, harsh treatment of prisoners and lack of attention to sanitation, hygiene and food.

Even if he is not prosecuted in Vietnam, Glitter could face charges in this country if he ever returned under Britain’s “sex tourism” laws – the Sex Offences Act 1996.

A Home Office spokeswoman said that British police could ask for the file on any alleged sexual offence that is recognised in this country to be sent to them for consideration. “We would always prefer someone is prosecuted in the country where the offence is committed, but if not we have the power to look into it here,” she said.

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