By Teeranai Charuvastra
CHIANG MAI — A British national and longtime resident of Chiang Mai province is under arrest on suspicion of uploading child pornography from his computer, police say.
The 64-year-old Briton was arrested at his home today, following a request made to the Division of Special Investigation by the US authorities to detain the man, according to a police officer at Fang Police Station.
“He ordained as a monk years ago. He’s been living here for a long time already. He later left the monkhood and married a woman from Fang,” said Police Col. Chollathep Maichai. “He’s a charitable man. He likes to visit [and give donations] to many neighborhoods. He also likes to visit young children.”
Chollathep continued, “But the DSI told us he sometimes brought kids to his home and made them take a shower, and he took photos of them and uploaded them to the internet. American officials found the photos and contacted the DSI about it.”
The Briton is still being interrogated by police at the time of writing.
The arrest was made jointly by DSI officers from Bangkok and local police officers. Although the Bangkok Post reported that British police officers observed the arrest, Chollathep said no foreign police officers were present at the scene.
A press officer at the British Embassy in Bangkok said the Embassy has not been informed about the arrest of the British citizen. Chollathep confirmed that officers at his station have yet to alert the British Embassy about the matter.
Asked whether the suspect is receiving legal counsel from any lawyer, Chollathep said he’s not sure, and referred the question to another police officer, who could not be immediately reached by phone.
The British man has reportedly been charged with distributing child pornography, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and/or a 140,000 baht fine.
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