The sort of tourist Thailand does not need or want: Dempster is facing a 10 year and 6-month prison term ahead of him when he is finally extradited to the United Kingdom after legal proceedings are completed here. He was convicted in 2014 of distributing images of underage girls from 2008 to 2013 in Scotland.
A top Thai police officer, on Monday, warned international criminals that Thailand can no longer be regarded as a refuge for fugitives after the arrest on May 29th last of convicted paedophile pornographer, William Dempster from Scotland, in the Bang Lamung area of Pattaya in a joint operation between UK police forces and the Royal Thai Police. However, Dempster had managed to live in Thailand illegally without a visa for over eight years, from May 2014 up to his arrest at the end of the month.
The arrest of the convicted paedophile on Sunday, May 29th has again focused media attention in the United Kingdom and across the world, on Pattaya as a favourite destination for on the run criminals with tabloid coverage in the last few days.
In May 2014, 46-year-old William Dempster was convicted by a court in Lanarkshire, Scotland of being in possession of pornographic photographs of young girls under 15 years of age.
Scottish court conviction for producing pornographic images of underage girls from 2008 to 2013
The charges laid against Dempster also included producing pornographic imagery for sale to paedophiles as well as the dissemination of such content between 2008 and 2013.
The court had granted Dempster bail pending a sentencing hearing.
He used the opportunity to flee the country and travelled to Thailand with Immigration Bureau records showing he entered the kingdom the same month.
He was later sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Visibly shaken and nervous fugitive accosted by officers of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD)
This led to a tense scene in the Bang Lamung district of Pattaya, last week, when a visibly shaken and nervous Mr Dempster was accosted by two Crime Suppression Division (CSD) policemen at his home in the holiday resort city.
They informed him that he was being arrested under a warrant issued by the Thai Criminal Court on March 23rd last under the country’s extradition treaty with the United Kingdom.
Dempster, wearing a pink T-shirt and blue pants, kept fidgeting, rubbing and turning his head as one of the officers in halting English informed him of his arrest and on what basis it was taking place.
The other officer stood carefully watching the British man and quietly intervened at one point to get him to pay attention as the arrested man appeared to be on the verge of panic.
Operation to arrest Dempster coordinated by police teams in Thailand and the United Kingdom
The arrest of William Dempster was a successful operation carried out with cooperation between the UK’s National Crime Agency, local Scottish police in Lanarkshire as well as the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) led by Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop Phuridech and the Crime Suppression Division (CSD).
After the successful operation, the senior police officer with the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) responsible for the operation which led to Dempster’s apprehension, Police Colonel Boonlue Phadungthin, this week, briefed the media.
‘The suspect was previously arrested by Scotland Yard police in England on charges of producing, having in possession and disseminating child pornographic material between 2008 and 2013,’ he disclosed. ‘He was released on bail during the legal process but fled to Thailand where he had been staying for more than eight years.’
It has been revealed that Dempster was living in Thailand illegally without a visa.
Now being held in custody in Thailand pending legal proceedings and his eventual extradition to the UK
The UK man will now be held in custody in Thailand as he faces legal proceedings in the country in connection with this and his extradition to the United Kingdom.
After this, he will be flown back to Scotland to begin serving his prison sentence there.
Police Colonel Boonlue praised the operation which led to the UK fugitive’s arrest and warned foreign criminals that Thailand can no longer be seen as a refuge for those associated with crime.
‘This arrest is a success for the cooperation between Thai police and British police,’ he said. ‘It shows that foreign criminals cannot use Thailand as a safe destination.’
Another Scots fugitive who fled to Pattaya in 2014
In 2019, Scotsman Thomas Hagan who fled Glasgow in Lanarkshire in 2014 after being charged with a drug-related offence linked with a botched heroin deal, died suddenly in Pattaya where he had settled.
Scotsman who died suddenly in Thailand had fled the UK to escape heroin drugs charge for which he was acquitted but still jailed
Mr Hagan had built a new life for himself in Thailand with a wife and child.
He had been subsequently cleared of the criminal charge against him in Scotland but sentenced by the presiding judge to one year’s imprisonment for failing to appear.