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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Debauchery accused confident of acquittal

Debauchery accused confident of acquittal

MORE than four months after this arrest on charges of debauchery and rape, Siem Reap

hotelier Rudolph Knuckel is optimistic that his name will eventually be cleared and

that he will be able to reopen his Swiss Center D'Angkor.

In an interview with the Post on June 2, Knuckel expressed confidence that the charges

brought against him after his Jan 26 arrest in the company of two scantily-clad teenage

boys will eventually be dismissed.

"The truth will come out," the robust-looking Knuckel said at his home

in Siem Reap, where he's been convalescing since March from a suspected heart ailment.

"The plot [against me] is starting to come to light."

Knuckel's health problems, however, remain "undiagnosed".

"They don't have the facilities or the expertise here to tell me what's wrong

with me," he explained, rejecting suggestions that he was feigning illness in

order to be released from prison. "I had a similar [heart] problem two years

ago."

Since his release from prison in March, Knuckel says he has uncovered evidence that

he was framed by a team of three freelance journalists - two Europeans and one Canadian

- who were present during his arrest.

"I've engaged investigators of my own who are investigating the movements of

these journalists during their stay in Cambodia," Knuckel said. "I'm employing

investigators in Europe as well."

Knuckel indicated that future legal action against the three journalists remained

a possibility in spite of his doubts that a successful suit would pay any worthwhile

financial settlement.

"The trouble with these freelance journalists who hang around Thailand is that

when you shake them, there's no money," he said.

As he awaits the June 21 Supreme Court hearing on his application for bail, Knuckel

expressed gratitude for the "strong, continuing support" he's received

from the people of Siem Reap.

"Political people visit me every day," he said. "The people who knew

me in the old days, when there was fighting and Khmer Rouge around Siem Reap, they

haven't forgotten me."

That support has convinced Knuckel to remain in Siem Reap after what he feels will

be his inevitable acquittal.

"I'm going to stay in Siem Reap," Knuckel insisted. "I've been here

for ten years and will see this through to the end."

Tan Senarong, the investigating judge in Knuckel's case, was equally confident that

Knuckel would remain in Siem Reap, but in considerably less salubrious circumstances.

"I'm confident that after [Knuckel's] June 21 bail hearing, he'll be going back

to jail," Senarong said."

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