A continuing trade in sex videos and films - including some made in Cambodia -
is upsetting the Minister of Culture and Arts as he promotes a return to old
Khmer values and traditions.
Nuth Narang said such pornography was still
freely available, particularly in Phnom Penh, despite a ban on the sale or
showing of sex films since the State of Cambodia regime in the 1980s.
government had been unable to take any effective measures to stop the flowing of
sex films into Cambodia. Meanwhile, some videos were being produced in the
country with Khmer actors.
At Psar Thmey (New market), the Post saw many
sex videos from Germany, the United States, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Japan
and Vietnam openly on sale.
When asked, one vendor produced a Khmer tape,
saying it was "a good Khmer sex tape with Khmer actors...they speak in
He also had foreign video tapes which had been dubbed over in
Khmer, he said.
The vendor said some tapes had been seized at Cambodia's
western border from smugglers trying to import them, but were not destroyed.
Police later sold the tapes for $1.50 each to video vendors, who re-sold them
for about $2.
Other vendors said that their sales of sex videos had been
highest during the UNTAC period - they had been a big hit with some foreign
soldiers and observers - and had since fallen.
Meanwhile, some Phnom Penh
cinemas also screen sex films. At least two cinemas, though they do not
advertise their films as sex shows, are widely-known for running such films. One
of them is currently closed.
Nuth Narang said the Ministry of Culture and
Arts was keen to crack down on the public screening of sex films, but sometimes
they were shown in secret places the ministry did not know about.
venues were guarded by armed men, who threatened authorities if they tried to
close them down.
He said a lack of a clear division of responsibility
between government agencies - including the Ministry of Culture and Arts, the
Ministry of Information, the Department of Films and Videos and the Phnom Penh
Municipality - made it harder to effectively combat the sex film
Narang was concerned about the influence such films had on Khmer
youth. Traditionally, Khmer girls would never consider participating in
pornography, he said, and were shy even about things such as love.
they talk about love, they never talk directly," he said.
He said he
accepted that democracy and human rights gave everybody the right to "do what
they want," but "they must respect our law and national traditions."
20-year-old Phnom Penh girl told the Post she had watched sex videos with her
sister and brother-in-law, and had first learned "tactics of love" from
Other Khmers spoke of sex films being shown at night on closed
circuit television at some Phnom Penh hostels and hotels.