MELBOURNE: A light aircraft operator, who fled Australia after being accused of a string of child sex offences, could be hiding in Malaysia, police say.
Charles Gordon Batham, 66, of Broome, West Australia, fled his country via Perth on Feb 21, a week before he was due to face a court on charges which included procuring a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, AP reports.
Batham, who owns and operates Broome Trike Flights, was also charged with indecently recording a child and two counts of intending to expose a child to indecent material.
Detective Senior Constable Wayne Davies said when the aircraft operator failed to appear at the Broome Magistrate's Court on Feb 28, the police discovered that he had left the country.
He said that while the man's current location was unclear, police had information he had stopped over in Kuala Lumpur and might still be holed up somewhere in Malaysia.
"We're still making inquiries as to his whereabouts, but we're not 100 per cent sure whether he's still in Kuala Lumpur or has moved on from there or he's staying in Malaysia," he told AP.
Davies said Batham had lived in Broome for more than 20 years, but was originally from the United Kingdom and still held a British passport.
He said the police were also investigating whether he had returned to the UK. "I know he's got some associates in Europe but also in Asia and the UK. These are business associates and, obviously, friends."
Davies said Interpol was helping WA police to track down Batham. - Bernama