Briton Paul Ian Bower (centre) leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June, 2007. Reuters
A British national was arrested on Sunday night on a charge of sexually abusing six boys between the ages of 11 and 16, Keo Thea, chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protect-ion Office in Phnom Penh, said yesterday.
Paul Ian Bower, 46, who faced similar charges in Cambodia that were ultimately dropped in 2007, had been arrested about 9:30pm at Wat Prasath, in the capital’s Sen Sok district, Keo Thea said.
“He was arrested by the police while he was showing . . . pornographic photos to a group of boys and touching two boys’ penises in the pagoda,” Keo Thea told the Post.
He said Bower had been working as an English teacher for the Cambodia Air Traffic Control Service.
Keo Thea said Bower had been detained at the office of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police in Phnom Penh for further questioning before being sent to court today.
“I am still questioning him about his personal history and activities relating to the purchase of child prostitutes in Cambodia,” he said.
“He will be sent to the court to face his charges [Tuesday],” Keo Thea said.
He added that Bower had been sentenced by a British court to more than three years in jail for sexually abusing children in that country but had fled the UK to live in Cambodia, an account supported by more than one British newspaper.
Khoem Vando, information officer at Action Pour Les Enfants, pointed out Bower’s previous arrest here in 2007, following alleged procurement of two child prostitutes. Bower was tried but released after the court dropped the charges because of a lack of evidence.
APLE would provide lawyers to the victims and their families if asked, Khoem Vando said.
Bower’s lawyer could not be reached by the Post for comment yesterday.