British man gets 15 months in Cambodia jail for child sexual abuse

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PHNOM PENH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — A Cambodian court sentenced a British national to 15 months in prison for sexually abusing underage boys, local media Khmer Times reported on Monday.

The 57-year-old English teacher at a private school was convicted of “indecent act against a minor under 15 years” by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said the statement released last week by NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), which assisted the police in a probe leading to the arrest and conviction of the man.

The man was sentenced to 15 months in jail with a three-month suspension, the statement said, citing a court’s verdict.

He was also ordered to pay a compensation of approximately 1,500 U.S. dollars to two child victims and a fine of 750 U.S. dollars, it said, adding that additionally, the offender was banned from Cambodia for three years following his jail term.

The man was arrested by the Phnom Penh Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police in November last year at his rented apartment, and six child victims with ages ranging between 9 and 13 years old were rescued, the statement said.

The offender had brought several street boys into his room in the apartment, where the alleged sexual abuses took place, it said, adding that he taught them English, fed them, supported their school fees and allowed the boys to play in his apartment, gaining their trust before abusing them.

“I applaud the order of ‘ban on stay’ by the court,” said Khoem Vando, APLE’s child protection specialist.

“This allows safer space for children in the community. However, stronger collaboration between relevant stakeholders across the country, region and globe is necessarily needed to address child sexual abuse and exploitation in travel and tourism,” he said.

Cambodia launched an anti-pedophile operation in 2003. Since then, dozens of foreigners have been imprisoned for child sex crimes.

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