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'Swirl face' offender released to Vancouver

Christopher Neil , 42, s a high-risk sex offender and is the subject of a public notification.
Christopher Neil.

Following the completion of Christopher Neil’s sentence in custody, B.C. Corrections issued a public notification Sunday about his release, with conditions.

Neil, 42, is a high-risk sex offender and is the subject of a public notification conducted by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Corrections Branch.

He is 5’10’’ inches and 190 pounds. Neil, who grew up in Maple Ridge, is Caucasian with balding brown hair and blue eyes. He plans to reside in the City of Vancouver.

Neil was the subject of an international manhunt in 2007 after Interpol unscrambled digitally swirled images of him allegedly engaging in sexual acts with young boys from Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, ranging in age from six to 16.

Interpol received more than 300 tips from the public in response to the world-wide appeal.

Dubbed “swirl face,” Neil fled from South Korea, where he was teaching English, to Thailand.

Cambodian police have a warrant out for Neil’s arrest connected to allegations of abuse in that country.

His criminal history includes abduction of a minor, indecent act committed on a minor, cause fear of sexual offense in respect of a person under 14, accessing, possessing and viewing child pornography, breach of recognizance and sexual interference of a person under 14.

Neil has a pattern of sexual offending behaviour against both pre- and early pubescent boys, according to B.C. Corrections.

After an extensive international investigation, in October 2007 Christopher Neil was arrested in Bangkok Thailand and charged with a series of sexual offenses against children.

B.C. RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) unit forwarded a series of investigative findings collected in B.C. to the Thailand police in support of their primary investigation.

Neil was convicted in 2008 in Thailand, served his sentence and was released and returned to Canada in September 2012, where he was subject to a series of conditions.

In September 2012, officials in Thailand confirmed that evidence provided by B.C. ICE in support of their criminal matter had not been used in their prosecution. Therefore, B.C. ICE investigators, in consultation with Crown Counsel, immediately reviewed their findings and conducted follow up investigations. .

B.C. ICE investigative findings were submitted to Crown for charge assessment, leading to six new charges being approved and sworn under the authority of Section 7 (4.1) of the Criminal Code.

This section allows Canadian authorities to investigate and prosecute certain offences, such as child pornography and the victimization of children, committed by Canadian citizens in other countries.

The sexual touching, invitation to sexual touching and production charges related to incidents that occurred in 2003 in Cambodia and the possession count relates to investigative findings in 2007 in Maple Ridge.

Neil attended the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission from 1995 to 1999 and received a B.C. independent teaching certificate in 2000.

He also volunteered at St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Maple Ridge in 2000 and 2001 and was a substitute teacher at Arch Bishop Carney in Port Coquitlam for five days in April and May of 2007.

In 2013, a Vancouver Police investigation alleged that Neil had possessed and viewed child pornography in the city of Vancouver. That investigation resulted in four charges being laid.

Neil is subject to close monitoring by authorities and 18 court-ordered conditions:

•  no contact directly or indirectly with any person under the age of 16;

• not to engage in any activity that involves contact with persons under the age of 16 years including via a computer system;

• not to be on the property of or loiter on the sidewalk immediately adjacent to any park, playground, school ground, swimming area, daycare, recreation or community centre, arcade, library, residence or any place where persons under the age 16 years can reasonably be expected to be present;

• not to possess or access any computers, cellular telephones or other device capable of accessing the Internet;

• not to direct any person to possess, use or access any electronic device or computer system on your behalf.