Ex-rock star Gary Glitter, convicted in Britain of possessing child pornography, has returned to Cambodia to fight against his expulsion from the country, officials said yesterday.
The 59-year-old former glam rocker, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, arrived last month after a municipal court allowed him to return to contest his deportation last year, his lawyer Naryth Hem said.
"He disagreed with the deportation. He did not commit any wrongdoing and asked why he was expelled," Naryth Hem said.
Gadd, a British national, lived quietly in Cambodia for about six months before police investigated him last year for living without proper registration.
The ensuing media frenzy and public pressure forced him to leave the country, but he sneaked back again and hid in an unknown location before Cambodian immigration police deported him on Dec. 28 last year.
He filed a case to contest his deportation with the Cambodian Municipal Court last month and the judge, Tan Senarong, allowed him to return to the country, pending a verdict.
Tan Senarong said he has held three hearings already but has not yet reached a conclusion. He said Cambodia's Ministry of Women's Affairs, which had Gadd expelled, has failed to provide enough evidence against him.
"In this case, I have decided to let this person re-enter Cambodia, so he can personally defend his case and face off the ministry's representatives in court," he said.
Gadd was convicted in Britain in 1999 for possessing pornographic pictures of children. He served half of a four-month sentence before being released.
Mu Sochua, the Minister of Women's Affairs, insisted that Gadd's conviction in Britain should be enough evidence to have him banned from Cambodia permanently.
She expressed disappointment at his return, saying her ministry would fight for his expulsion again.
"As far as I am concerned, he should not be in Cambodia. Anybody involved in the past or presently in pedophelia should not be allowed in Cambodia, not even for a minute," she said.
Child rights advocates warn that Cambodia has become a haven for foreign pedophiles due to lax law enforcement, corruption in the courts and the easy availability of young boys and girls who are forced into prostitution by poverty.
But Naryth Hem said his client's previous conviction should not be an issue.
"I don't care about the past ... he committed no wrong against Cambodian law when he stayed here," he said.
Gary Glitter gained fame in the 1970s with such hits as I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am), Do You Wanna Touch and Rock And Roll (Part 2).