ST. CLOUD (AP) -- A former real estate agent and job counselor has been extradited from Thailand and is now in the St. Cloud prison for two rapes committed a decade ago.
King Buachee Lee, 37, arrived in Minnesota Friday with an FBI agent and a deputy from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department
Lee's return ended a seven-year manhunt that skipped across the globe from California to France to a series of small, isolated villages in Thailand.
''We were determined to bring this fugitive to justice,'' Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said. ''He fled halfway around the world, but we never gave up on returning him to prison where he belongs.''
Lee was convicted in 1991 of raping two Hmong women he was supposed to be tutoring at St. Paul Technical College. Lee, then 29, maintained his innocence, saying he was having affairs with the two married women.
In January 1992, the state Court of Appeals overturned his convictions, but they were later reinstated by the state Supreme Court.
By then, Lee had vanished. He was eventually traced to Thailand, FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said.
Lee led FBI agents and Royal Thai Police on a five-year chase that wound through small villages across mountainous regions of northern Thailand, McCabe said. He was finally captured Dec. 8, 1998, in Saraburi, Thailand, 90 miles north of Bangkok at a Buddhist temple.
He was held in Bangkok for more than a year while contesting his return to the United States, but a Thai court finally signed an extradition order last Dec. 29.
The Ramsey County attorney's office said it had no plans to pursue flight charges against Lee.
''He'll just pick up right where he was,'' spokesman Jack Rhodes said.
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