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Burmese asylum seeker regrets behaviour

A BURMESE father of two who claimed he was tortured by the government in his native country faces deportation after being arrested for making sexual remarks to young children at a takeaway in Shetland.

Thirty one year old Lon Sai, whose address was given as Criaginches prison, in Aberdeen, admitted making sexual remarks to three 13 year old boys within hearing of a 12 year old girl and boy at Scalloway’s Castle Café, between 1 December and 17 January.

He also admitted being in possession of a false passport when he was arrested at Lerwick police station on 20 January, when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The court heard that Lon had arrived in Shetland last November after buying a false Taiwanese passport having been offered a job at the Castle Café.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said his client had taken the decision to leave his wife and two children, aged 12 and two years, after being tortured by the Burmese authorities for taking part in street protests.

Mr Kelly said Lon had shown him scars on his heels that he said were inflicted during torture.

“I can’t substantiate it, but he maintains he was tortured and had his Achilles tendon ruptured on a number of occasions. He had needles put in his back and these needles snapped.

“Despite the heartbreak in having to leave his family, he felt he had to leave Burma by whatever means and that meant spending a lot of money on a false Taiwanese passport.”

Mr Kelly explained that Lon had read books on the Osho faith that promotes freedom of sexual expression and he had made the mistake of articulating his thoughts in front of the young people in the chip shop.

“He realises his conduct was entirely inappropriate and in hindsight deeply upsetting to these impressionable young people,” his agent said.

Hearing the young people’s banter he had thought it appropriate to make sexual comments, not realising how young they actually were, Mr Kelly added.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said that the youngsters had become uncomfortable going into the Castle Café because Lon would ask to see their private parts, offer to show them his, encouraged them to visit prostitutes and said he would like to have sex with their 12 year old girlfriends.

Mr Mackenzie said these were not “streetwise children in any meaningful sense” and were alarmed enough to tell their parents who contacted the police.

Lon has been held in custody since 20 January under immigration laws and has engaged a Glasgow law firm to help him fight for political asylum.

Mr Kelly said that he apologised to the community of Shetland for his behaviour and would not return to the islands whatever sentence was passed on him.

Sheriff Graeme Napier deferred sentence until 23 March for reports to be compiled and remanded Lon in custody, telling him that he would be placed on the sex offenders register.