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Thai police nab manhunt suspect

Unscrambled child abuse pic operation leads to arrest

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Thai police have arrested a suspected paedophile who became the subject of an international manhunt.

Interpol issued an unprecedented appeal for help after experts succeeded in unscrambling digitally-swirled images of the suspect, contained in depictions of the abuse of young boys posted online. Five different sources identified the suspect as a man teaching English at a school in South Korea shortly after the suspect flew from South Korea to Thailand last week.

Thai police named the man as Christopher Paul Neil, 32, and issued an appeal of their own to help track him down on Tuesday. Neil was arrested near Nakhon Ratchasima, around 250km north east of Bangkok early on Friday, the BBC reports. Police said he would be brought back to Bangkok, the Thai capital, for questioning.

Neil allegedly features in 200 online photographs in which he sexually assaults 12 young boys in Vietnam and Cambodia. His face was digitally altered (swirled) so as to impede identification. The first pictures of the balding alleged abuser, believed to have been taken in 2002 and 2003, were spotted online by German police three years ago.

Thai police issued an arrest warrant for Neil after a 17-year-old Thai boy provided a statement stating that Neil had sexually molested him several years ago. ®

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