December 11, 2008 / 9:35 AM / 12 years ago

German, American, Britons caught in Thai sex raid

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai police arrested two Britons, an American and a German in the beach town of Pattaya on Thursday on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Police said the suspects, aged between 45 and 66, were caught with hundreds of photos and videos of abused young boys in a joint operation between Thai police and Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP).

If found guilty, they could face up to 20 years in jail.

Police said CEOP had provided a list of 50 suspected pedophiles who might be hiding in the southeast Asian nation, long regarded as a paradise for child sex abusers.

“We are appealing to the victims of these pedophiles to come out so we can press more charges against them,” chief investigator Police Colonel Suvichpol Imjairat told a news conference.

CEOP chief executive Jim Gamble said the arrests sent a message to European pedophiles who think they can evade capture by traveling to countries where law enforcement is thought to be weaker.

“Britons who travel abroad to abuse children in the belief they can evade justice are a UK problem and we have a duty to protect every child, everywhere,” he said in a statement.

Thailand made headlines last year when police arrested “swirly-face” Canadian pedophile Christopher Neil, whose digitally scrambled picture was unraveled from images of abuse found on the Internet.

Reporting by Sinthana Kosolpradit; Writing by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Ed Cropley and Sanjeev Miglani

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