Sex accused: Its a payback - Friday 12th of August 2005

FORMER WA police officer accused of luring a young Thai girl from her poor family and holding her as a sex slave for three years says he is innocent.

In an interview while in police custody, Christopher Ronald White claimed he had been targeted to silence him over his inquiries into multimillion-dollar Australian casino stings, revealed in The Sunday Times last week.

His daughter, who returned from Bangkok in April after 12 months living with him, said he had no sexual relationship with the Thai girl.

Mr White, 46, now a private investigator, tracked down an Asian high-roller junket operator alleged to have racked up multimillion-dollar debts in Australian casinos. Among them is Burswood, which says it is owed more than $5 million.

Some security-industry sources believe it was more than coincidence that Mr Whites arrest came just days after it was revealed how he tracked down junket operator Thongthip Aektrakul – a woman believed to have close connections with one of Thailands political clans and other heavyweight contacts in Cambodia.

Another WA man, debt-collector John Dragosavic, 54, who was working on a separate investigation into the same casino stings, was found dead in a Bangkok hotel on July 14. Australian Federal Police would not comment on any link between Mr Whites arrest and Mr Dragosavics death.

Mr White, who has lived in Thailand for 15 years, faces charges including raping a girl under 13 and illegally detaining the girl – offences that could see him jailed for up to 20 years. He is the subject of two separate investigations in Perth and Thailand.

In Melbourne, Customs officers seized two computer disks in June and August which had been mailed to Perth. A spokesman said charges of importing child pornography may be laid.

Federal agents raided two homes in Como this week, seizing items including computer disks.

Thai police also raided Mr Whites Bangkok home, where it is claimed disks containing pornographic material were discovered.

Thai police said the girl, known as Pan, "escaped" two months ago and told a charity, which specialises in people smuggling, of her plight.

But Mr White, speaking from the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, said the sex-slave claims were rubbish.

"Ten to 12 months ago she was my legal ward," he said. He offered to pay her school fees and put her up, but she proved too much trouble after they moved from Chiang Mai to Bangkok.

"Three times I took her to Mae Sai (her familys home, north of Chiang Mai), but she kept coming back," he said.

"I put her through school, but she stopped going so I kicked her out of the house.

"I put her on a train to Chiang Mai in March because she had been playing around and living in a place with three boys, one of whom, I presume, got her pregnant."

The girl says Mr White is the father, but he claims he had a vasectomy in May.

He conceded that he sent two pornographic disks to Australia, but said they were purchased in Bangkok.

"I bought those at Pantip Plaza," he said, referring to a top computer centre in the Thai capital that does a huge trade in pirated software and pornographic films.

"I was in the process of bringing that to the attention of the media and police, but didnt trust the Thais and the Australian police.

"The Thai police, NGOs and the federal police, they have shot themselves in the foot. The physical evidence is not there to back these claims."

Mr Whites 18-year-old daughter, who asked not to be named, was teaching English in Bangkok at the time.

"There was nothing going on, nothing at all," she said.

"When Pan was a flower girl she was probably prostituting with other foreigners, but definitely not with my dad. Dad was only looking after her and trying to help her in school."

She said her father paid the girls hospital bills after she contracted a sexual disease.

Mr White joined the WA police in 1978 and resigned 12 years later after being charged and cleared of selling information to a private investigator.

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