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Two paedophiles on the run are still wanted men

By: Alana Buckley-Carr and Angella Pownall Posted: May-19-2011 in
Leon Mark Melzack - Crime Stoppers pics provided by police - click for more photos
Alana Buckley-Carr and Angella Pownall

Two paedophiles on the run are still wanted men
The hunt for two of Australia's most wanted paedophiles is gathering pace, with two of South-East Asia's most effective anti-child sex campaign groups targeting notorious WA sex offenders Leon Mark Melzack and David Allen Shom.

The men, both 50, fled the country in 1997 - two days after being charged by Perth police with a number of child sex offences. They are alleged to have abused a nine-year-old boy, who is now 32, over a period of several years from 1987.

The lovers have not been seen since leaving Australia but detectives know they flew to Thailand before catching a flight to Cambodia. The trail then goes cold and authorities do not know whether the men have re-entered the country or are living elsewhere using fake names and passports.

John Curtis, president of Grey Man - a Brisbane-based charity with a mission to eradicate child trafficking and exploitation - said that photographs of the pair had been circulated among its volunteers and contacts in Cambodia.

"We've got people out looking for them in various ways, " he said. "We've got to think of an effective way because it's a bit of a needle in a haystack."

Mr Curtis said the charity would look at having the most recent photographs of Mr Melzack and Mr Shom, which date back to 1997, altered to reflect 13 years of ageing. It was doubtful if the men were still in Cambodia because it was rare for expats to stay that long in a country without becoming known.

Action Pour Les Enfants Cambodia director Seila Samleang said he was aware of Mr Melzack and Mr Shom but investigators could not find them.

Mr Samleang said that the targeting of Cambodian children by Western tourists was no longer as obvious as in previous years. "Abusers know too well where to hide and how to secure their abusive behaviour, " he said.

Det-Sgt Tom Tristram, of the WA Child Abuse Squad, said: "We have no idea where they are."

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1st published 1/11/2010 The West Australian - republished with permission

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