Man wanted in Britain for child sex crimes arrested at school in Thailand

Robert David Hastings (centre), 61, from Britain, smiles during a news conference at the Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok on Nov 26, 2014. A British man wanted by British police for a string of paedophile offences has been arrested at a s
Robert David Hastings (centre), 61, from Britain, smiles during a news conference at the Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok on Nov 26, 2014. A British man wanted by British police for a string of paedophile offences has been arrested at a school in northeast Thailand where he worked as a teacher. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network, AFP) - A British man wanted by British police for a string of paedophile offences has been arrested at a school in northeast Thailand where he worked as a teacher.

The 61-year-old man, Robert David Hastings, is wanted for 17 counts of sexual violation and molesting girls aged under 14 in Britain. He was arrested on Tuesday at a local school in Kumphawapi district in Udon Thani where he worked as a teacher, Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt General Sakda Chuenpakdee said on Wednesday.

Hastings initially told police that he had been in Thailand since 2005 and had a Thai wife. He claimed he had returned to Britain to sort out his assets before settling in Thailand. He told police he had contacted British police about the arrest warrant and said he had no money for the trip home, but did not get any response.

He most recently entered Thailand via the Nong Khai immigration checkpoint and has documents to work as a language teacher at the school until March 31, 2015, Sakda said.

Hastings will be transported to Bangkok to appear at a criminal court which will decide whether or not to extradite him back to Britain, Pariwat said.

A spokesman for the British embassy in Bangkok confirmed that a 61-year-old national had been arrested and that consular officials were providing assistance.

Nongkhai province is in Thailand's northeast on the border with Laos.

It boasts the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, a popular crossing point between the two countries for locals and foreigners.