US & Canada

'Swirl face' sexual offender in Vancouver after release

Christopher Paul Neil, right, sits next to a Thai prison official at criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, March 10, 2008. Neil was arrested in Thailand on Oct. 19, 2007 after Interpol had issued an unprecedented global appeal Image copyright Associated Press
Image caption Christopher Paul Neil was arrested in 2007 in Thailand

Convicted paedophile Christopher Paul Neil has been released from custody and will settle in Vancouver.

Dubbed "swirl face" due to efforts he made to disguise himself, Neil is classed a "high-risk sex offender".

The 42-year-old Canadian was arrested in Thailand in 2007 following a global manhunt and a worldwide appeal for public information by Interpol.

He has spent time in jail in both Thailand and Canada for sexually abusing young boys.

Corrections officials from the province of British Columbia (BC) issued a public warning following Neil's release on Sunday.

BC Corrections spokeswoman Cindy Rose said in a statement that Neil will be "subject to an intensive level of monitoring and supervision in the community".

It includes:

  • barred from all contact with people under 16
  • keeping away from schools and playgrounds
  • prevented from accessing internet
  • following 18 court-ordered conditions

Neil was arrested 10 years ago when Interpol, the international police agency, appealed for help after experts unscrambled his digitally-swirled internet photos.

It was the first time Interpol had made a direct worldwide appeal for public information in a case.

Image copyright Interpol
Image caption An international manhunt was launched in 2007 using these images

Online images of Neil showing him abusing young boys had been manipulated to disguise his face with a swirl pattern, but German computer specialists were able to produce identifiable images.

Neil was jailed in Thailand between August 2008 and September 2012 following a conviction for sexual offences against two boys. He was released and deported to Canada.

In December 2015 he pleaded guilty to five new charges involving the sexual abuse of young boys in Cambodia and possession of child pornography in Canada. His sentenced was reduced due to time already served.

Neil, originally from Maple Ridge, BC, had spent about 15 years in Asia teaching English.

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