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More complaints in monk case

TWO women and a girl came forward last week to file complaints against a defrocked monk who allegedly recorded pornographic videos in the public shower of a Phnom Penh pagoda.

Neth Kai, 35, was arrested on June 26 after being accused of using mobile phones to secretly record hundreds of videos of naked women showering in a bathroom at Srah Chak pagoda in Daun Penh district.

He was defrocked soon after the scandal broke, and Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged him with producing pornography. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of a month to a year in prison and a fine of between US$48 and $480.

Court president Chiv Keng said that a total of four women had filed complaints against Neth Kai, and that the new cases could go to trial before the end of the month. “These victims face ... serious embarrassment when they see their friends and neighbours, and some are afraid to go to school because the pornography recorded by Neth Kai has emerged into the public sphere,” he said.

The court had appointed a female judge and clerk to the case, he said, in order to help victims feel more “courageous” and less “ashamed” during the questioning process.

Investigators estimate that about 18 of the 631 women recorded by the monk were minors, Chiv Keng said.

The scandal has prompted officials to issue warnings that people caught watching the video clips could face up to a month in jail and a fine of between $24 and $48.

Soeun Sophak, 24, of Tuol Kork district, became the first to be held accountable under these rules last month, when he was sentenced to a month in prison for distributing videos made by the monk.

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