Gary Glitter boards flight to Hong Kong

PAEDOPHILE former pop star Gary Glitter has left Bangkok on a flight to Hong Kong, Thai police said today.

Glitter, who is travelling under his real name Paul Gadd, boarded a flight to Hong Kong this afternoon.

Police Colonel Voravat Amornvivat said Glitter boarded a Thai Airways flight to the Chinese territory after he refused to return to the UK.

Col Amornvivat said airline officials had confirmed that Glitter was a passenger on the Hong Kong flight.

The disgraced singer had refused to board two previous flights from Bangkok to London.

He spent more than 20 hours in the airport's transit lounge before finally getting on the Thai airways service.

Immigration officials in Thailand had said that Glitter would be taken to a detention centre if he continued to refuse to get on a flight.

Glitter was released from a Vietnamese prison yesterday after serving two years and nine months of a three-year sentence for abusing two girls aged 10 and 11.

After his flight from Ho Chi Minh City landed at Bangkok last night, Glitter had been due to board a connecting flight to Heathrow but refused.

An immigration official said Glitter – who was treated for tinnitus in prison – had complained of earache and was taken to an airport clinic.

The official said he was checked over by a doctor before being returned to the transit area of the airport.

Thai Airways later confirmed that Glitter had left Bangkok on flight number TG 602, landing in Hong Kong at 11pm local time (1600 BST).

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said today that Britain could not enforce Glitter's return but must have a plan if he did return.

If and when he arrives in the UK, he will be met at the airport by police officers and served with an order which effectively will put him on the sex offenders' register.

Asked about Glitter while on a visit to special constables in Tooting, south London, Ms Smith said: "What I am concerned about is, whoever the individual sex offender is, that we have in place the necessary provisions to monitor them."

Ms Smith today announced tighter controls on the movement of paedophiles but she dismissed a suggestion that the Government had wanted a "celebrity paedophile" to promote the crackdown and had found it "embarrassing" that Glitter had not come home.

"No paedophile is a celebrity, every paedophile needs to be controlled," she said.

She told GMTV Glitter was "despicable" and said it was "pretty hard to imagine it would be legitimate for him to travel abroad again".

Today's announcement included increasing the length of foreign travel orders which prevent convicted paedophiles from going abroad, from six months to up to five years.

Glitter was also treated for a heart condition while in prison and he has said he wants to return to the UK for treatment.

Asked if she was comfortable with Glitter using the NHS and taking up police time, Ms Smith told GMTV: "I think it's right that we use police time to monitor sex offenders.

"If you are a British citizen, you have the right to use the NHS, whatever we think about an individual, and this is a pretty despicable person."

Thai officials last night refused to let Glitter, 64, through passport control and into the country despite his insistence that he was a "free man".

He was told he would not be allowed out of Bangkok airport unless it was on an international flight.

Police Major General Phongdej Chaiprawat said: "We will not allow him to enter the country."

Lieutenant General Chatchawal Suksomchit, the chief of Thailand's immigration police, said Glitter was denied entry because under Thai immigration laws those convicted of child sex abuse in a foreign country can be barred.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "It's up to the Chinese authorities to decide whether they allow him to enter their territory."