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Hunted man in hiding

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    Hunted man in hiding - 23-Oct-2006
    HE is tired, nervous, and stuck – in his own words – in the middle of a nightmare straight out of Kafka.
    Queensland's notorious "international con man", Peter Clarence Foster, has been on the run from authorities in Fiji for 16 days after a warrant was issued for his arrest over breached visa regulations.

    Police also want to question him over allegations he attempted to discredit – via the internet – a new resort development, claiming it would be a haven for homosexuals and pedophiles.

    In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Foster, 44, has broken his silence from an undisclosed location in Fiji. Sounding weary and dispirited, Foster said: "This has been an absolute nightmare.

    "I was going to the Yasawa (Islands) for two weeks. I had done nothing wrong. I had a valid visa. Then, without any notice, they cancelled my visa, said I had forged my visa application and issued a warrant for my arrest.

    "If that doesn't scare a person, then what would?

    "There's so much I could say that would tear to the heart of what this is all about but I'm in terror while I'm in this country. I can't say things."

    Foster has in the past two decades been enmeshed in controversies ranging from the Bai Lin slimming tea scandal in the 1980s and 90s to helping Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, buy two investment flats in 2003. He has been jailed for fraud and various misdemeanours on three continents.

    His latest odyssey began on Thursday, October 5, after police began an investigation into an alleged cyber crime against a New Zealand-based developer– Evan Williams – who was negotiating the construction of a new resort on beautiful Champagne Beach on the island of Yasawa-I-Rara, the northernmost island in the Yasawa chain, northwest of Viti Levu.

    Foster himself had proposed a development last year on the same beach, and was believed to have secured a 99-year-lease over 45ha of the island, including much of the stunning Champagne Beach (so named after a nearby bubbling freshwater spring).

    Police allege Foster, a former Gold Coast resident who has been living in Fiji for the past 12 months, and others were behind a website proclaiming that two executives of the Native Lands Trust Board – the body basically in charge of island development approval in Fiji – had acted unscrupulously in issuing leases for a "gay resort" at Champagne Beach, which turned a blind eye to pedophilia.

    Additionally, immigration officials were pursuing Foster for allegedly falsifying his visa application. They claim he concealed the true extent of his criminal record.

    "I had no idea they would issue a warrant for my arrest," Foster said. "There is absolutely zero evidence of me having anything to do with that internet business. They are unfounded allegations."

    Foster says he will remain in hiding until his appeal over his visa has been fully heard. He refused to discuss where he had been living and under what conditions.

    Meanwhile, the Foster fiasco has become a political issue. Last Tuesday Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase demanded to know how Foster was permitted into Fiji in the first place, and how he managed to live in the country despite being on an "immigration blacklist". He ordered an immediate investigation by his Home Affairs ministry.

    Fiji's Immigration Department failed to answer questions yesterday from The Courier-Mail regarding Foster's visa status and immediate future in the country.
    Ref: - Courier Mail

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