Convicted pedophiles are kept under close monitoring in Vietnam but not banned from posing for photos with children, a child affairs official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday amidst reports that a UK registered sex offender was pictured with kids in Hanoi.
British citizen Christopher Trinnaman, 41, was in 2010 jailed for four years in his absence by the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales for causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in 2008 and possessing indecent images, UK tabloid newspaper Mirror reported.
He had posed as a teen online and persuaded two girls to send naked pictures before trying to lure one to a hotel for sex.
Police were alerted and found 28 indecent images of kids on his computer in a search of his home.
Trinnaman was caught in 2011 and ordered to sign on to the sex offenders register for life.
The trombone player was released from jail in 2015 and moved to Vietnam afterwards, earning his living by signing up with a top orchestra in Hanoi, the UK newspaper reported on Saturday.
In photos published by the site, the British man could be seen posing for pictures with some Asian kids, who Mirror claims to be Vietnamese.
“British pedophile Christopher Trinnaman grins as he stands surrounded by unsuspecting kids in his new home of Vietnam,” the London-based tabloid captions one photo.
Tuoi Tre News could not independently verify the authenticity of these undated images.
Dang Hoa Nam, director of the Child Affairs Department of Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday any convict who has served their sentence no longer has their freedom restricted by Vietnamese law.
“People like Trinnaman who have a criminal record of past convictions for pedophilia-related crimes are barred from jobs that require contact with or involving children,” Nam said.
In this case, the British citizen moved to Vietnam to work in an orchestra, which is not a child-related profession.
“Even if he was in the photos with those children, he would not have broken any law in doing so,” Nam explained.
“However, Vietnamese authorities do keep a close watch on ‘high-risk’ people like Trinnaman,” he added.
“From what I’ve heard, this man has already been sacked by the orchestra where he worked,” Nam said.
A spokeswoman for Trinnaman’s orchestra told Mirror the man had resigned from the position and terminated the contract with the orchestra on April 23.
“All the necessary information he provided to sign the labor contract was legal,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The report of a foreign sex offender’s presence in Vietnam came amidst recent high-profile cases of sexual harassment against children in the Southeast Asian country.
In April, legal proceedings were launched against a retired official accused of child molestation after CCTV footage showed he grabbed and kissed a young girl inside an elevator at an apartment building in Ho Chi Minh City.
The same month, a teacher in Lao Cai Province of the Central Highlands region was investigated for allegedly impregnating one of his students who is an eighth-grader.