Tintin, THE boy reporter of comic strip fame, has been caught up in a new adventure and the Belgian police are not best pleased.
About 650 forged copies of "Tintin in Thailand", a lewd tale of Tintin touring sleazy bars in Bangkok, have been confiscated and at least three people arres-ted, it emerged yesterday.
In Belgium, where the comic strip character with the quiff is something akin to a national hero, the episode has attracted considerable attention, and has been condemned as in being poor taste as well as illegal.
Tintin's Belgian creator, Herge, dreamed up 24 separate adventures for the roving foreign correspondent and his white fox terrier Snowy, but none involved in a trip to Thailand and all were considered suitable for kids.
In the unauthorised Tintin in Thailand album, however, Tintin is seen with his friends Captain Haddock and the absent-minded Professor Calculus drinking beer at a lap dancing bar in Bangkok.He has abandoned his school-boy vocabulary for a more colourful one.
In another scene that is likely to anger fans of the comic strip, Tintin is pictured in a gay escort bar called Sexy Boy, where he is propositioned by two male Thai hosts.
The album also contains graphic scenes of sodomy involving Snowy and Tintin's Chinese friend Chang.
A police unit which specialises in investigating counterfeiting mounted an elaborate sting operation in which officers posed as potential buyers and chatted with smugglers in the town of Tournai, near the French border, before revealing their true identities.
Two men were arrested, and a third from Antwerp, after they confessed to having produced around 1,000 copies of the unauthorised tome in Thailand for resale in Belgium.
Ironically, unscrupulous Thai forgers decided to copy the copy and produced thousands of fake albums which investigators claim are of superior quality to the Belgian version.
Tintin first appeared in print in 1929 and the stories of his adventures have sold more than 175 million copies around the world.
Written by: Duncan Campbell