The Siem Reap Provincial Court sentenced a Japanese man to two years in prison and fined him five million riel ($1,250) after he was found guilty of sexually harassing an underage girl.
The verdict, handed down yesterday morning, convicted Shuji Yamagishi, 41, of indecent assault instead of the original, more serious charge of sexual intercourse with a minor.
Hong Sambath, the victim’s lawyer from Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), was not happy with the sentence.
“We are not satisfied with the final verdict because two years, from which one year is suspended, is too little,” he said.
A five million riel fine was also not enough because “the victim demanded 40 million riel”.
Sambath added he would meet with the victim’s family to discuss their next step.
The case was heard in the Siem Reap provincial court on November 23.
Yamagishi, who had been living in Cambodia for about five years as a researcher of Khmer culture and lived in a rented hotel room in the same complex as his alleged victim, was arrested on May 15 in Svay Dangkum commune in Siem Reap province and charged with having sex with a 13-year-old schoolgirl.
Sambath told the court that the accused had a video-game machine in his room that he used to lure children to spend time with him alone.
In this instance, he locked the door after he pulled the victim into his room.
The victim’s cousin, suspicious of Yamagishi, knocked on the door 10 minutes later.
Upon examination, the victim was found to have sustained minor injuries to her vagina.
Khem Vando, a project manager of APLE in Phnom Penh, said his organisation had co-operated with police to save scores of underaged victims since early January.
“Victims are legally supported and provided with safe houses with partner organisations,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at firstname.lastname@example.org