August 21, 2008 / 7:08 PM / 10 years ago

Gary Glitter leaves Bangkok for London

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Disgraced rock star Gary Glitter left Bangkok for London where he is due to arrive on Friday, an airline official said.

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

“He is on board and his plane has left,” a Thai Airways reservation staffer told Reuters by telephone when asked if Paul Francis Gadd, Glitter’s real name, was on the TG 910 flight.

The plane left Bangkok at 1:34 a.m. on Friday local time (1834 GMT Thursday) and is due to arrive in London 6 a.m. (local time), an airport official said.

Glitter returned to Bangkok on Thursday after Hong Kong barred him from entering following his release from three years’ prison in Vietnam for child sex abuse.

Thai immigration police detained the 64-year-old Briton after his Thai Airways flight landed at Bangkok’s international airport, a Reuters witness said.

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

He was allowed to board a Thai Airways flight to Hong Kong late on Wednesday even though immigration police said he would be deported to London “as soon as possible.”

Hong Kong authorities refused to let him in and put him back on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok, where he has been declared persona non grata.

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 — wishful thinking, as it has turned out.

As well as Thailand and Hong Kong, he is officially black-listed in Cambodia, where he spent several years in hiding before moving quietly to Vietnam.

The British press eventually unearthed him 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 Sintana Kosolpradit and Ed Cropley; Editing by Tony Austin

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