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Phnom Penh Won't Deport Bo Xilai-linked Frenchman

  • VOA News

A general view of the home of French architect Patrick Henri Devillers is pictured in Phnom Penh, June 21, 2012.

A general view of the home of French architect Patrick Henri Devillers is pictured in Phnom Penh, June 21, 2012.

Cambodia says it will not deport a French architect who once worked closely with a disgraced senior Chinese official at the center of one of modern China's biggest and most public political scandals.

Frenchman Patrick Devillers was arrested earlier this month outside of Phnom Penh at the request of China, for his alleged involvement in unspecified offenses in the People's Republic. French authorities have since demanded to know why the 52-year-old is being held.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, speaking Friday, told reporters Devillers will remain in Cambodian custody.

"The decision is already made. We'll keep him here and won't extradite him anywhere, not to France or China," he said. "We'll keep him in Cambodia."

Hor Namhong did not offer details of Devillers ongoing detention or the investigation, and it is not clear why China wants him deported.

But Devillers is said to have had a close business relationship with Chinese Communist Party official Bo Xilai, and Bo's wife, Gu Kailai.

Bo was purged from the leadership of the party earlier this year as part of a massive corruption probe widely reported in Chinese media.

His wife is herself under investigation for the homicide of British businessman Neil Heywood, who -- like Devillers -- was closely linked to Bo during his meteoric rise to prominence as the mayor of Chongqing.

There has been little official comment from China on the murder probe, other than widespread reports that Heywood was poisoned. Analysts have for weeks speculated that Heywood's death may be linked to his intimate knowledge of the Bo family's complex business dealings.

Bo remains under house arrest in China and his wife is in police custody.
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