LONDON – Ex-rock singer and convicted child molester Gary Glitter left Thailand for London on Thursday, Britain's Foreign Office said.
A Foreign Office spokesman said the rocker was on his way to London. He refused to go into any further detail Thursday or say when Glitter, 64, was expected in Britain. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.
Thai police said Glitter agreed Thursday to leave Thailand for London, possibly ending a two-day odyssey that began when he was released from a Vietnamese prison after serving time for molesting children.
Glitter has twice been refused entry into Thailand and once turned away from Hong Kong after his release Tuesday.
Glitter, a British citizen, flew to Hong Kong on Wednesday night after Thai authorities barred him from entering the country. Hong Kong immigration officials then refused him entry after interviewing him, a British Foreign Office spokesman said.
Police Col. Worawat Amornwiwat said Glitter arrived back in Bangkok on Thursday and would again be denied entry. He said Glitter's airline, Thai Airways, should ensure he continues on his originally planned journey to England.
"Thailand is not allowing him to enter the country and Hong Kong is turning him back so there is no choice for him now,' Worawat said. "It is the responsibility of Thai Airways to take him out of the country."
On Tuesday night, Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was taken from his prison cell to a Thai Airways flight out of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. He had been booked to change planes in Bangkok en route to London, but refused to board the flight to Britain, complaining of an earache.
Lt. Gen. Chatchawal Suksomchit, 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.
Another officer said his department received a note from Vietnam and Interpol requesting that Glitter not be allowed entry into Thailand. The official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Glitter was convicted in March 2006 of committing "obscene acts with children." He served two years and nine months of a three-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.
The incidents involved two girls, ages 10 and 11, from the southern coastal city of Vung Tau. The verdict said he molested the girls repeatedly at his seaside villa in Vung Tau and in nearby hotels. Glitter proclaimed his innocence.
Glitter's fall from grace began in 1997, when he took his computer to a repair shop and an employee there discovered he had downloaded thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children. Two years later, British authorities convicted him of possession of child pornography, and Glitter served half of a four-month jail term.
Glitter hit the front pages of Britain's newspapers Wednesday.
In an editorial headlined "Who'd want him?" the conservative Daily Mail said "no country in its right mind would want this pervert at large on its soil."
The news hit as British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a raft of new measures to tighten controls on people convicted of sexual offenses against children.
If Glitter returns to Britain, he will be met at the airport by police officers and be placed on a sex offenders' registry, which already lists about 30,000 people.
In his 1970s heyday, Glitter performed in shiny jumpsuits, silver platform shoes and bouffant wigs. He sold 18 million records and recorded a string of British top-10 hits.
His most successful song, the crowd-pleasing anthem "Rock and Roll Part 2," cracked the top 10 in the United States.