August 20, 2008 / 2:54 AM / 9 years ago

Disgraced singer Glitter refused entry to Hong Kong

<p>British rocker Gary Glitter walks at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport August 20, 2008.Sukree Sukplang</p>

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Disgraced British glam rocker Gary Glitter has been refused entry to Hong Kong after arriving from Thailand where he was also barred, a British foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

When asked what would happen to the 64-year-old Briton, released this week after serving nearly three years in a Vietnam prison for child sex abuse, the spokesman replied: "It's a matter for the Chinese authorities."

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was allowed to board a Thai Airways flight to Hong Kong even though immigration police at Bangkok airport said he would be deported to London "as soon as possible."

Having been booted out of Vietnam on Tuesday at the end of his sentence, police said Glitter feigned ear and heart problems in Bangkok to miss a connecting flight to London, apparently fearful of a hostile reception in Britain.

There was no sign of Glitter several hours after his arrival in Hong Kong. The city's airport arrivals gate was shut after midnight, with the last of the day's passengers, including those from Bangkok, believed to have passed through.

Glitter was allowed to wander freely in the no-man's land of Bangkok airport for nearly 24 hours despite being officially declared persona non grata in Thailand.

Police said health checks had revealed his assertions of having heart and ear conditions had been bogus.

A Thai immigration official confirmed Glitter had left Bangkok, even though two hours earlier authorities had said he was on a one-way ticket to London.

GIVES TABLOIDS THE SLIP

Glitter landed at Bangkok airport sporting a long white goatee beard and with his face partially hidden by a faded denim baseball cap and a battered pair of spectacles.

After holing up for more than 12 hours in a transit lounge rest area, he disappeared through a fire-door into the bowels of the airport escorted by a dozen immigration and airport officials.

He smiled at reporters tailing him but declined to say anything, other than that he was "fine."

The British tabloid press, which had more than a dozen reporters on his Thai Airways flight from Vietnam, said he had collapsed in the rest area, complaining of heart problems and demanding hospital treatment.

Despite huge interest in the story in Britain, he managed to shake off many of the British reporters in Bangkok. They had checked their bags through to London and had to take the onward flight on Tuesday.

After three years in a Vietnamese jail, Glitter had nothing more than his passport and a small amount of hand luggage.

In a prison interview with an official Vietnamese newspaper shortly before his release, Glitter said he wanted to go to Singapore or Hong Kong to revive his music career, although few countries would be happy to have him.

He is blacklisted in Cambodia, where he lived for several years before moving quietly to Vietnam.

British press eventually unearthed him there in 2005 in the southern resort town of Vung Tau. He tried to flee, but was arrested at the airport and convicted soon afterwards of having sex with two young girls.

He is best known for his bouffant 1970s hairstyle, high heels and hits such as "Rock and Roll (Parts 1 & 2)," "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)!" and "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I am)."

Additional reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan and Darren Schuettler in Bangkok, James Pomfret in Hong Kong and Luke Baker in London; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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