63-year-old William James Petrie was arrested under an old 1911 extradition law and is to face a criminal charge of sexual abuse of a minor under 10 years of age in New South Wales. The Australian was reportedly aware of the charges when he fled down under for a new life in Thailand nearly 6 years ago.

An Australian who has lived with his wife in Thailand for over 5 years was arrested on Sunday on foot of an extradition request by Australian authorities linked with an alleged case of paedophilia in New South Wales.

Officers with Thailand Crime Suppression Division Police on Sunday as they executed an arrest warrant on 63-year-old William James Petrie approved by the Thai Criminal Court. He is wanted on foot of an extradition request from Australia under the colonial era 1911 extradition law with the United Kingdom. He faces a charge of sexual abuse of a minor in New South Wales.

A Thai wife in Chachoengsao province has denied any knowledge of her Australian husband’s background after he was arrested at the home they shared in the province last Sunday by Crime Suppression Division police.

The arrest of 63-year-old William James Petrie took place after officers arrived at the Klong Song housing estate in the Plaeng Yao district of the province.

Extradition of Australian man approved by the Thai Criminal Court after request from Australian Embassy

The warrant for the Aussie’s arrest had been approved earlier by the Thai Criminal Court. The application came at the behest of the Australian Embassy in Thailand and related to one charge of sexual abuse of a minor under ten years of age in the state of New South Wales in Australia.

Married to Thai wife for over 5 years in Chachoengsao

Reports suggest that Mr Petrie had been living somewhat happily with his wife in Thailand for between 5 and 6 years.

On Sunday, while denying any knowledge of his past criminal activities, his wife spoke highly of him as a family man here in Thailand and provider.

‘He never said anything about it. In fact, he has taken good care of my family. But I will leave this to the courts,’ she told the media.

Police in Thailand tracked the suspect through his marriage arriving at his door on Sunday

Despite her denials, it is understood from law enforcement officials in Australia that the man was aware of the charges against him when he fled Australia over 5 years ago for a new life in Thailand.

Police there had received intelligence that he had married a Thai woman and this is how Thai police were able to locate the couple on Sunday.

Mr Petrie was arrested under the old 1911 treaty between the then Kingdom of Siam and the United Kingdom.

The terms of the treaty extend its benefits to Australian authorities as a member of the British Commonwealth under its provisions.

Details of the arrest were given by Police Colonel Patak Kwanna the Chief of CSD Police Division 4 which carried out the arrest.

Further reading:

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Australian man jailed for sexually abusing Thai children shows the depravity that authorities must tackle

Thailand tightens screening of foreign English teachers following paedophile arrest