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AN INTERPOL search is under way for a white man who features in at least 100 images of child sexual abuse taken in Thailand.
The hunt is being led by Irish Detective Sergeant Michael Moran, who yesterday appealed for help from the public in identifying the suspected paedophile.
Images depicting the sexual abuse of at least three boys aged between 6 and 10 years of age include the suspect whose name, nationality and location are unknown.
The first pictures of the man were originally discovered by police in Norway in March 2006.
Det Sgt Moran also spearheaded last year’s investigation into the activities of Canadian-born Christopher Paul Neil who is in prison facing child abuse charges.
Neil was tracked down after scrambled pictures of his image posted on the internet were unscrambled by German police.
That public appeal was the first launched by Interpol and the latest search is the second.
Interpol made the decision to seek worldwide help because the victims are unknown and their location cannot be pinpointed.
According to the detective, who is originally from Ashbourne in Co Meath and is on secondment to Interpol from the Garda Síochána, international police have no idea where the suspect is from.
“We’re hoping that members of the public will be able to help,” he said. “We’ve already had a number of leads which have been sent out to our member police forces and that is ongoing.”
The public appeal has resulted in “dozens” of contacts, but none yet from Ireland.
Det Sgt Moran described the abuse featured in the images as being of a very serious nature, rating at about 8 on a scale from 1-10. “The fact that the victims are children aged from 6 to 10 also makes it very serious,” said Det Sgt Moran.
He described the child abuser as “your typical Joe, travelling sex tourist who turns up and uses his influence and his relative wealth to exploit these children”.
The images featuring the mystery man first came to Interpol’s attention in March of 2006 and, in the meantime, the agency’s 186 member countries have been made aware of them.
However, with no information forthcoming about the identity or whereabouts of the suspect, a decision was made to go public with an appeal for information.
“We’re not doing this lightly. These are serious abusers who we don’t track easily because the victims are untraceable.”
The suspect’s photograph, featured on Interpol’s website, is said to be about five years old. It is believed that the abuse images in which he features were taken earlier in the decade, in a south-east Asian country and possibly in some form of child sex abuse brothel.
* Anyone with information on the suspect should contact a Garda station or fill in the web-form at www.interpol.int.
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