Interpol asks for public's help in hunt for pedophile

In an unprecedented move, Interpol is asking the public for help in nabbing a suspected pedophile whose identity has eluded police for years.

In an unprecedented move, Interpolis askingthe public for help in nabbing a suspected pedophilewhose identityhas eluded police for years.

The international police organization obtained about 200 pictures posted on the internetshowing12boys being sexually abusedin Vietnam and Cambodia bythe sameman whose face is disguisedwith a digital whirl.
One of four images of the suspected pedophile released by Interpol on Monday. ((CBC))

Now,German policehave unscrambled the digitally altered photos and Interpol released Monday four reconstructed photosof theman, known as Vico, on its website in the hopes someone will recognize him.

"For years, images of this man sexually abusing children have been circulating on the internet,"Interpol's secretary general, RonaldNoble, said in a statement. "We have tried all other means to identify and to bring him to justice, but we are now convinced that without the public's help, this sexual predator could continue to rape and sexually abuse young children,"

The response has been good with about 200 messages in 12 hours, Interpol said.

ButInterpolpolice acknowledgedthey werenervous about releasing the images because ofconcerns a vigilante may misinterpret their public appeal for help andattack a look-alike.

There are other risks too, they said. Tipping criminals off to the techniques that police have at their disposal could also prompt them to better hide their identities.

The reconstructed photos show aCaucasian man who appears to be in his 30s with uncombed short brown hair. One showed him wearing glasses,another depicted him smiling, andanother showed him with a hairy chest.

The photosdate from before December 2004, when they were found on the internet. Some were digitally stamped as having been taken in 2002 and 2003,Interpol said. The 12 boys have not been located.

Interpol had already circulated photos of the man to police around the world but failed to identify him. Anders Persson, a Swedish police officer assigned to Interpol's human trafficking unit, said he believes Interpol obtained the first photos in the spring of 2005 followed by many more images.

Distinguishing marks on the suspected pedophile's body will help police ensurethat they have their man if he is eventually caught, Persson said. He did not say what these marks were, butthat they would be "the final proof if he is the right guy or not."

Interpol asked people who recognize the man or who have other information to contact police or the Interpol bureau in their country.

With files from the Associated Press