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Vietnam To Hold Glitter During Probe

Vietnam will detain former British rocker Gary Glitter for three months while authorities investigate suspicions that he had sex with underage girls, a prosecutor announced. Glitter, who has denied al

Vietnam will detain former British rocker Gary Glitter for three months while authorities investigate suspicions that he had sex with underage girls, a prosecutor announced today (Nov. 25).

Glitter, 61, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, has been detained since Nov. 19 when he was stopped at Ho Chi Minh City's international airport while trying to leave the country amid allegations that he had committed lewd acts with minors at his rented home in the coastal resort of Vung Tau.

Glitter, who has denied all allegations, has not been charged with any crime. His attorney Le Thanh Kinh said he is still working on getting his client released on bail. Police can extend the detention period if they choose.

Police have gathered enough evidence against Glitter to accuse him of crimes and prosecutors have approved initiating criminal proceedings against him, said Nguyen Van Xung, deputy prosecutor for Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

The prosecutor's office issued a formal order today to keep Glitter in custody at a prison outside Vung Tau while police continue their criminal investigation, Xung said. "Police have enough evidence to keep him for three months," he said, adding that authorities had initially requested a four-month detention.

Yesterday, police said the initial investigation turned up evidence that Glitter may have had sex with underage girls. The age of consent in Vietnam is 18.

Authorities have obtained statements from five girls -— including a 12-year-old -— about their sexual involvement with Glitter and compiled medical evidence of potential abuse, said Lt. Col. Nguyen Duc Trinh, deputy head of the police investigation department in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

Under Vietnamese law, charges will be filed only after police complete their investigation. At that time, they will make recommendations of specific charges to prosecutors.

In Vietnam, sexual contact with a minor under the age of 18 carries varying penalties, depending on the charge. Lewd acts with a child carries a penalty of up to 12 years while child rape carries the maximum penalty of death before a firing squad. Police have said sex with a minor under 13, with or without consent, would be considered rape.

The case has been highly publicized in state-controlled media, which have reported that Glitter was seen in town with several teenage girls whom he invited to his home.

The British singer has been living in this coastal resort of Vung Tau since April, police said. He has entered the country three times since 2003, according to immigration records.

Glitter, who rose to fame as a glam rocker in the 1970s, is best known for the song "Rock and Roll Part 2" which is still frequently played at sporting events.

He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail sentence before being released. He later went to Cambodia and was permanently expelled in 2002, though Cambodian officials did not specify any crime or file charges.

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