Thai authorities have instructed schools in the country to screen foreign applicants for convicted pedophiles, the Bangkok Post reported Monday. The directive was prompted by a tip-off from the British embassy that a British national with a record of child abuse had applied for a position as a language teacher.
"Those with records of child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom often look for a job as a teacher or a volunteer in other countries,” Thirakiat Charoensethasilp, assistant minister in the country's education ministry, told the Bangkok Post. “Many of them choose to look for a teaching job or other jobs concerning children.”
Thailand is considered the sex capital of the world, and has in recent years attracted registered sex offenders who are on sex offender lists back home but face no restrictions in the Southeast Asian state. In 2009, 2,888 people were charged with having sex with children under 15 in the country, though it was unclear how many from that number were foreigners, CNN reported.
Last year, a British man was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of committing child sex offences. The man, Robert David Hastings, already faced 12 allegations of child sex abuse against girls in Britain under the age of 14. And earlier this year, a Thai man was arrested for procuring more than 100 boys on behalf of an American pedophile, 61-year-old Thomas Gary, who was arrested in the country earlier, Reuters reported.
With the recent directive to screen for registered sex offenders, schools were advised to check applicants online for criminal records and require they present a police certificate, the Bangkok Post reported.