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This man is suspected to be Christopher Neil, who used a swirl filter on his face in images depicting sex acts with children.  (Source: Interpol)

A photo of Neil taken by Thai immigration officials on October 11.  (Source: Interpol)

A photo of Neil submitted to Interpol (left) and one of the unscrambled photos of the suspect (right).  (Source: Interpol)
Interpol finds success in blasting the man’s face across the internet

As it turns out, Interpol’s pleas for help in searching for the “swirly-faced” child molester have met with success: Canadian national Christopher Neil – the man behind the Photoshop filter – was found and arrested in Thailand, on suspicion of sex crimes against young boys.
According to local police reports, Neil had been in Thailand for not more than a week, abruptly leaving his teaching position in South Korea immediately after his picture was broadcast worldwide. He was spotted by airport security cameras in Thailand, sporting a shaved head and glasses. To quote Reuters, the search for Neil was “a manhunt to rival [the] search for JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect Mark Karr.”
Thailand issued a warrant for Neil’s arrest, based on accusations that he paid for oral sex from two Thai teenagers, who were aged 9 and 14 at the time. A trace was executed on Neil’s boyfriend’s cell phone, and he was pinpointed to a remote province called Nakhon Ratchasima, about 150 miles northeast of Bangkok and “well off the normal tourist trail.” The two had been travelling around to different provinces and were “probably on the run,” said tourist police chief Chuchart Suwannakom.
Interpol was originally apprehensive about posting the unscrambled photographs online, partly because it would signal to other crooks that they were capable of descrambling the swirl pattern – and possibly other obfuscation techniques – and partly out of respect for the perpetrator’s family and privacy. However, it was decided that the need to find him outweighed these concerns, and so his image was posted online a little over a week ago. The response was nothing short of torrential: over 200 different responses were received within the first 12 hours of the posting.
It appears that this case is closed, as Interpol has mountains of photographic evidence against the suspect. If convicted, Neil faces up to 20 years in a Thai prison, notwithstanding additional punishment from his home country of Canada, which has laws against child sex crimes committed abroad, if it chooses to seek extradition.

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Black bars.
By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2007 9:49:07 AM , Rating: 5
It would seem that the oldest tricks are still the best. Overlay the face with a black box and there's nothing left to descramble.

What a sick f***. In some ways, I wish some arcaic laws were still in place so we could stone this guy to death. At the very least, chop off his dong. At least I'm comforted in knowing that Thai prisons are really hard core and I'm pretty sure that prisoners of every country are equally as unforgiving to child molesters.

RE: Black bars.
By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2007 9:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, yeah, I'm posting again.

WTF is the deal with child molesters? Why do they all have that same look? Is it the unrelenting guilt of their decaying humanity that makes them all look creepy as hell?

RE: Black bars.
By wrekd on 10/19/2007 10:01:05 AM , Rating: 4
The really sick part is after we see this crap in the media; we turn on 1 of 45 versions of Law and Order and watch it as entertainment.

RE: Black bars.
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 10:05:49 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you on that. It is practically impossible to avoid watching those types of shows since they are on practically all the time and on all the major networks. I don't understand the facination with crime that we have - it is kind of sick really.

RE: Black bars.
By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2007 10:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
Well, what's entertaining is how Det. Stabler (Christopher Meloni, aka Gene from Wet Hot) pwns sick bastards like this. That's why I watch it.

RE: Black bars.
By Vanilla Thunder on 10/19/2007 12:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking of Gene, I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.


RE: Black bars.
By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2007 2:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure you weren't gonna make fondue with cheddar?

RE: Black bars.
By Vanilla Thunder on 10/19/2007 4:25:06 PM , Rating: 1
Gene: Now we need to make 8 gallons of bug juice by snack hour, do you know where the powder packets are?

Gary: Yeah.

Gene: In the pantry, above the sink, right next to my bottle of dick cream. Uh, wait, forget that last part.

Gary: Did you say dick cream?

Gene: No! I said next to my... stick... team, you know stick team! Stickball! Go away leave me alone!

RE: Black bars.
By rdeegvainl on 10/19/2007 10:01:27 AM , Rating: 4
you take a cropping of just about anyones face and they look creepy.

RE: Black bars.
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 10:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
WTF is the deal with child molesters? Why do they all have that same look? Is it the unrelenting guilt of their decaying humanity that makes them all look creepy as hell?

Talk about creepy - did you see the photos of the guy at the Thai press conference that are in the news today?

RE: Black bars.
By Polynikes on 10/19/2007 12:28:41 PM , Rating: 4
That's just your brain saying that. If you didn't know him as a child molester you'd never think he looked creepy.

RE: Black bars.
By TomCorelis on 10/19/2007 1:53:58 PM , Rating: 4
He doesn't look creepy to me, merely average. Maybe a little geeky.

RE: Black bars.
By hrah20 on 10/20/2007 10:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
he looks like a serial killer ,creepy face.

RE: Black bars.
By smitty3268 on 10/20/2007 5:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
He looks pretty normal to me. You think he looks creepy because you know what he's done.

RE: Black bars.
By hrah20 on 10/21/2007 5:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you're right,but look a the picture in the middle , now imagine he is looking at you that way without saying anything, dannnnm, haloween picture !!!.

RE: Black bars.
By Screwballl on 10/19/2007 10:05:49 AM , Rating: 3
I agree, castration should be the first offense for sexual crimes against minors of this nature.. second offense chopping off a hand... third offense death.
There is no reason this should happen more than once if the proper punishment is carried out.

RE: Black bars.
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 10:08:26 AM , Rating: 3
Nah, I say they should physically "swirl" his face like in the picture and make him spend the rest of his life looking like that. :o)

Being serious, though, I do think that the punishment for molesting children should be very harsh. Children are innocent victims in these type of crimes.

RE: Black bars.
By rdeegvainl on 10/19/2007 10:14:33 AM , Rating: 1
I like the first one,tack on some federal pound me in the ass prison years, but the second offense should go straight to death

RE: Black bars.
By 16nm on 10/19/2007 1:53:57 PM , Rating: 1
pound me in the ass prison years

The problem with that is the dude is gay and he will probably enjoy the ass-pounding prison life that awaits him. Jeez, it's like he's being rewarded. On the otherhand, I bet Thai prisons are a pretty rough place, so I don't know. It will be nice if the media do a follow-up on him in a few years to see how much he has deteriorated, if at all.

RE: Black bars.
By johnsonx on 10/19/2007 5:07:00 PM , Rating: 5
Do gay men like being raped any more than straight women?

RE: Black bars.
By 16nm on 10/19/2007 5:57:33 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know, but something tells me that this is important to you. What does this have to do with this article????

Let's get back to the subject of the article - Neil the Child Molester

This sick SOB will probably enjoy his prison time. No one said all gays like being raped. But this one? With his background? Yeah, you can't rape the willing. If he were of healthy mind and soul then, yes, you might have a point, but everyone can clearly tell that this is not the case. Gay sex addict vs. healthy-minded homosexual? Do you understand the difference? You're obviously very passionate about homosexual rape. I think it has blinded you causing you to jump to conclusions without putting any thought into what I wrote. But nice attempt to put words in my mouth nonetheless.

RE: Black bars.
By johnsonx on 10/20/2007 12:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
actually no, it isn't particularly important to me (what are you trying to say?). It's just one of those things that suddenly struck me as odd: people (including me) always say "oh, he's gay, he'll love prison". That seems strange if you actually think about it.

RE: Black bars.
By 16nm on 10/20/2007 1:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
I am sorry because you still are not understanding this. This is why I think you have some personal experience with rape because it is clouding your thoughts. If you do, I am sorry, but no one ever mentioned RAPE in this thread until you. This is not just any gay. This is a gay person who is also so addicted to sex that he is willing to molest a child. This gay sex addict will be going to a prison full of MEN. THAT's why it's important that he is gay. You can not rape the willing. Now, can you begin to understand how he won't be in such hell if he is sent there? Jeeesus, man. It is so ridiculously simple that I can not see why it escapes your understanding.

RE: Black bars.
By smitty3268 on 10/20/2007 5:12:47 PM , Rating: 1
You're making a couple of assumptions there - like that he would have sex in prison. Does that really happen to child molesters, because I would assume they just get the shit kicked out of them over and over again until someone finally manages to slit their throats.

Second, there are a lot of gay men who don't like to be on the receiving end, if you know what i mean.

RE: Black bars.
By Dactyl on 10/20/2007 9:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
Let me get this straight:

1 - child molesters are just guys with too much gay cooties?

2 - and they enjoy the treatment they get in prison?

Those two assertions are laughable on their face. They're flat-out wrong. You obviously understand nothing about gays, child molesters, or prisons, or you wouldn't say things that are so completely wrong.

I think you have unfulfilled homosexual desires. You fixate on gay rape because if, in your fantasies, another man rapes you, then you're not really "gay" because you're not responsible for it. That's why you have a problem telling the difference between gay sex and rape.

You know that if you were in prison, you would want the inmates to get in line to have their way with you--you see prison as a big man-meat buffet, because deep down inside, you know you're a total flaming homo.

Also: 16nm? Nobody cares how small your member is.

RE: Black bars.
By 16nm on 10/22/2007 11:31:55 AM , Rating: 2
Let me get this straight:

1 - child molesters are just guys with too much gay cooties?

2 - and they enjoy the treatment they get in prison?

No, you did not get it straight.

1. Gays wouldn't enjoy Thai prison.
2. Sex addicts wouldn't either.
3. Gay sex addicts just might find bliss.

Does the numbered bullets make it easier for you??

This assumes that Thai prison officials even allow sex between inmates.

RE: Black bars.
By WelshBloke on 10/22/2007 5:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
Dude seriously, no one enjoys Thai prisons, they are brutal and dehumanizing and as such I ,for one, am happy this guy is going there.

RE: Black bars.
By sxr7171 on 10/21/2007 11:22:20 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know, gay men seem to be portrayed in the media as highly promiscuous and ready to sleep with pretty much any other gay man. It seems that gay men are always on the prowl and always horny. I know of people who have gotten hit on by gay men. They always seem to want to look for sex.

Besides, in any case a gay man will likely do better in a place with a bunch of men than a heterosexual man.

RE: Black bars.
By Polynikes on 10/19/2007 12:39:30 PM , Rating: 3
I think the bastard's fate should be up to the kid's family.

I'll tell you right now, if I knew, FOR SURE, who did that to my kid, and I could get my hands on him before the cops did, he'd die a slow, excruciating death, and there wouldn't be anything left of him for the cops to find. I think I'd be OK with spending the rest of my life in prison for doing it, too.

RE: Black bars.
By Spuke on 10/19/2007 6:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
The reason why these people aren't castrated is that it would not deter them from molesting children. From what I understand, it's more to do with power and control over the helpless than sexual gratification.

RE: Black bars.
By Scorpion on 10/19/2007 2:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
It would seem that the oldest tricks are still the best. Overlay the face with a black box and there's nothing left to descramble.

Absolutely, but don't let them know. We need to catch these idiots. With the swirl, the signal still exists in some form, only it has been distorted (transformed). With a common transformation like the swirl, I'm sure it wasn't too hard to isolate the reverse transformation to reconstruct the original signal to a degree of accuracy.

By simply removing that part of the signal all together there's really nothing to work with to do any type of reconstruction.

Thank god these criminals don't know anything about signal processing.

Not a Tech News
By Razgriz20 on 10/19/2007 2:31:49 PM , Rating: 4
Shouldn't this have posted anywhere else? Sure this news pisses us all but we aren't here to discuss about this.

RE: Not a Tech News
By Master Kenobi on 10/19/2007 2:59:49 PM , Rating: 3
This is a followup to the original article. The "Tech" part of this is that, the federal investigators have showcased that they can "un swirl" these images that people thought were perfect protection. This is some pretty high tech forensics.

RE: Not a Tech News
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/19/2007 11:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
That puzzles me.
Instead of using "impossible to detect" techniques, this psycho guys just settle for "really very hard".

Instead of twirling the face, he could have erased it and overwritten with something else.
Luckily he was stupid enough to settle with "really very hard", though.

RE: Not a Tech News
By howtochooseausername on 10/19/2007 11:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe at some level these guys want someone to know it was them. Like bragging or something.

RE: Not a Tech News
By Nik00117 on 10/20/2007 4:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
Thats what I think it is, he wants poeple to know that hes done this and he wants poeple to know who he is, to a degree.

RE: Not a Tech News
By Justin Case on 10/23/2007 2:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
Whoever thought a twirl filter was "perfect protection" knows very little about topology and never tried applying two twirl filters (with symmetric values) to the same area in Photoshop.

Just try it. Apply a twirl filter to an image with the maximum value in one direction, then with the maximum value in the other direction. The only tricky bit is finding the dimensions and center of the filtered area (shape isn't important, due to the way the filter works), which have to be pixel-perfect, but that usually won't take someone with experience more than 5 or 6 tries. In other words, it's harldy advanced cryptology.

This guy should get a Darwin Award.

P.S. - From what I've read, he basically visited underage prostitutes in some asian countries (as do thousands of tourists every year - most are just smart enough not to post pictures of themselves), he didn't go around raping children. While being a "client" contributes to the perpetuation of the problem, catching him will make virtually no difference. IMO there's something fundamentally wrong with people who are more concerned about his fate than about the fate of the kids in those countries (where prostitution is frequently seen as the lesser evil). Thinking that something relevant has been achieved will just serve as an excuse to ignore the real problem.

RE: Not a Tech News
By TomCorelis on 10/19/2007 9:53:06 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention that this is posted in a blog, so I can say pretty much whatever I want. :-)

Problems with the world
By wordsworm on 10/21/2007 2:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
Before I get into my rant, I don't want people here to think I'm promoting what this guy did. I just want to put it into context.

First of all, the US, and the world, are scared of sex. Beating the crap out of someone, apparently, isn't as bad as paying some hungry kid for a bj. But I want to get a little deeper into it.

Is a bj really that bad? Maybe you'll say, 'ok, for an adult it's ok, but for a minor it's bad.' I figure that you're right. But to the extent that most here are posting ultraviolence to a guy who didn't force the boys shows a real problem with a lot of the posters. It's not the act itself that really gets you, it's the chance to outlet your worst violent urges on someone.

Quite frankly, I find American heroes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods to be more morally repugnant. I try to imagine what I would prefer, getting a little money for the occasional bj, or getting a lot less money for working 12h+/6 days a week in a toxic shoe factory so that some multimillionaire American hero sportsmen can get their millions by sponsoring Nike? Maybe some of you will jump on the idea, 'hey! he must be gay!' No, I'm not gay. 'Hey, he doesn't know what it's like to be given money for a bj.' In this case, you're right. I never had to do that just to get some money to feed my family. But between the dystopia of what those kids go through in those factories and starvation vs. the dystopia of having to choose between the bj and starvation, I think I'd go with the latter for the simple fact that at least I could make enough money so that maybe one day I wouldn't have to do it. The kids in the factories get paid so little that most of them have no hope. The children who provide sexual services actually get a fair bit more money for what they do than the factory kids. I'm basing this on what I've read female prostitutes have written, stating that at McDonalds they get paid nearly nothing and they have to work long hours, whereas with prostitution, provided they make it through without any STDs, they can amass enough cash to actually do something with their lives. Between the two jobs they say prostitution is better. Again, I'm not advocating that it should happen. I'm just saying that people who are making millions every year off of a worse case scenario than what these two boys went through sits worse in my stomach than what this teacher did. I do think he belongs in prison, right between Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, and all the other people who are making a ton of money off of those poor kids, not to mention McDonalds and every other corporation and/or star who profit from the rape of these kids and their future.

Links to Nike and child labor
cool photo

When you guys who are all happy about dumping on this guy for doing what he did take a look at your shoe collection, I want you to take a minute to think about how your money encouraged the rape of thousands of kids of their childhood, and how whatever punishment you think is fit for this guy is also good for the people who sponsor child labor. I know I'll get downrated the moment I hit 'post comment.' People don't like to look at themselves for what they really are: a part of the problem. It's much easier to point the finger at someone else.

RE: Problems with the world
By sxr7171 on 10/21/2007 11:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
OK you have some points there worth thinking about. However you have to understand that when an adult decides to take a life of prostitution they are old enough to understand what they are doing. A child has no idea what is going on.

In fact it is even sick to think you could shift blame from those sick people who create a "market" for such disgusting acts. Soliciting sex from a minor is not normal behavior and we really don't want these people in society.

How would you like it if some person like this approached your child for a BJ and got it because your child some ice cream and didn't know better. Children are innocent and these perverts are taking advantage of that. You are assuming that the child is capable of understanding the choice they have and that is clearly not true.

I will agree that poverty places children around the world in situations where they are more likely to be approached by a child molester but the same could happen right here in the US.

These people are sick and while I don't care for ultra-violence against the guy, I want him off our streets. Apart from that put him in jail, therapy, whatever but not on our streets.

By SavagePotato on 10/21/2007 3:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
Something tells me this guy will probably truly learn new meaning of the world molest, If he has to speand 20 years in a Thai prison.

Something tells me they probably don't get cable tv and conjugal visits there.

By rippleyaliens on 10/22/2007 10:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
Well the mention of Rape in Prison etc...
1. Rape is the least of this guys concern.
2. GANG rape now, that is a different story.
3. Beat up.. Well MOST convicts have children, and the thought of something like this guy, is just icing on the cake.
4. WORST.. he becomes property of one of the prison gangs.. and trust me on this, that is a fate worse then getting raped. That is the fact that you are GangRAPED daily, and rented as property. This dude is gonna be hurting.

NOW if he is lucky, in which i for see this. HE will be in solitare. MEANING 23 hours a day lock down. Food through a hole in the door. NO communication to the outside world. 1 hr of exercise, ALONE. So no matter what happens he is kinda jammed. (ROFL). Solitare makes you crazy.. in general population he is just meat. I know of a man who beat his child to death, and put in microwave.. Lets just say, that he was reminded , every hour on the hour.. Convicts do not like rapists, baby killers, or people who beat kids. LET alone a man found molesting boys= a very, long, long long long time to pay for this.. AND long in MANYY WAYS...

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