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Dane denies prostitution charge

Dane denies prostitution charge

A Danish guesthouse owner denied a charge of procuring prostitution during a two-day trial which ended yesterday in Siem Reap.

Svend Erick Jonasson, aged 65, pleaded not guilty after allegations were made against him by three former employees of the Seven Inn guesthouse, which he has run since 2008. Jonasson’s partner Phon Thea, also an employee at Seven Inn, denied one count of conspiring to procure prostitution.

During a trial at the provincial court,  a former employee said that he was forced to have sex with multiple customers. “He [Jonasson] dragged me by the shoulder and into his room and tried to force me to have sex with him, but I refused and ran out,” the man said.

“After that he started forcing me to have sex with customers. I had sex with Europeans twice and I got US$15 and $30 each time. I was forced to give $5 to Jonasson when I finished with a customer or he threatened to cut $10 from my salary.”

Another worker testified that Jonasson had instructed him how to give oral sex and that he had sexual relations with customers for money “three or four times a week”.

Taking the stand, Jonasson denied accusations that he facilitated sex between his staff and guests and claimed that during the time in question he was in a long-term relationship. His defence lawyer, Li Veng Chheng, called for the Dane to be acquitted due to alleged errors in the initial police investigation.

However, the lawyer acting for the victims, Noun Panith, suggested the court impose a jail sentence, award  compensation of 20 million riel (around US$5,000) to the alleged victims and ban Jonasson from Cambodia at the end of his sentence. Judge Ly Sokleng said a verdict would be handed down on June 7.

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