Frenchman With Ties to Bo Arrested in Cambodia

The French foreign ministry confirmed on Tuesday that Cambodian police have arrested Patrick Henri Devillers, the architect who has become linked to the Bo Xilai scandal due to his alleged business ties to Gu Kailai. From The New York Times’ Keith Bradsher, who tracked down Devillers in Cambodia last month:

Bernard Valero, the spokesman for the French foreign ministry, said at the ministry’s daily news conference in Paris on Tuesday that the architect, Patrick Devillers, had been detained in Cambodia.

“We of course will offer our consular protection, and we are in direct contact with the Cambodian authorities regarding the ins and outs of this arrest,” he said. “We are obviously following the ongoing investigation very closely.”

Mr. Devillers had remained in Cambodia despite being warned strongly and repeatedly by friends that he was in danger there, in part because of the Cambodian government’s close connections to the Chinese government, which is its largest creditor and aid donor. Mr. Devillers may have stayed because he began living with a Cambodian woman soon after moving to Phnom Penh nearly six years ago and has a kindergarten-aged child with her, said a friend who insisted on anonymity because of the diplomatic tussle over Mr. Devillers.

The South China Morning Post reports that the arrest of Devillers was carried out with the cooperation of Beijing, which is seeking his extradition, though Phnom Penh police have not decided whether to send him to China or France. While French officials probe the cause of the arrest, The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore connected with Devillers’ father for his reaction to the news:

“I spoke to my son 10 days ago and he appeared perfectly calm,” said the semi-retired property developer at his home in Rainans, Burgundy.

“He had no idea he was in danger of being arrested, as he had intended to come to France for a trip over the summer. My aim is to have him repatriated to France. I will be speaking with a French consular contact in Cambodia tomorrow, and I intend to fly to Cambodia as soon as possible.”

He said he believed his son was attracted to Mrs Gu and had wanted a romantic relationship with her. “My opinion is that he was ensnared in a web of manipulation by this woman,” he said, without providing more details.