MUNICIPAL police have arrested a 50-year-old Briton they believe paid to have sex with two underage girls, officials said yesterday.
The suspect was arrested at a guesthouse in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on Sunday night.
Police also arrested a 46-year-old tuk-tuk driver who allegedly arranged for the suspect to have sex with the girls, aged 11 and 12.
The owner of the guesthouse and the mother of one of the girls were also arrested.
Keo Thea, director of the municipal Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, said yesterday that the arrest followed several days of investigation.
“He was staying in the room with the two girls whom he had sex with for six days, and whom he paid US$1,500 each for a weeklong contract before we arrested him on the last day,” he said.
“We suspected him of also having sex with many other girls, whom he always paid $100 to have sex with.”
He said the four suspects were being held at the police station for further questioning, and would be sent to Municipal Court today.
“The British national is under primary charges of purchasing child prostitution, while the other three face primary charges of being accomplices to the purchase of child prostitution,” he said.
Samleang Seila, director of child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said yesterday that his organisation had informed police of its suspicions of the British national prior to his arrest.
“We saw him with several underage girls, buying them underwear and candy,” he said.
“We will provide lawyers for the victims, and vow to cooperate with police as we suspect him of sexually abusing another 15-year-old girl, but we don’t know her whereabouts.”
According to a statement released by APLE yesterday, the suspect was previously arrested in 2005 and charged with similar child sex offences.
However, he was acquitted after two of his alleged victims dropped their complaints against him.
In that case, he allegedly posed as a doctor at an orphanage in Kien Svay district’s Prek Pra village in order to gain access to the victims, but his “unusual treatment methods and limited medical knowledge” began to raise suspicions among staff members there, according to the statement.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him not guilty for lack of evidence, as did the Appeal and Supreme Courts, according to the APLE