Siem Reap police say they are waiting on an arrest warrant from the National Police before taking steps to locate and apprehend convicted Dutch pedophile Pieter Ceulen, who Siem Reap residents placed in town 11 days ago, the very day he was sentenced in Belgium.
The apparent inaction comes amid unconfirmed claims by an attorney for a Belgian child protection organisation that Ceulen is seeking Cambodian citizenship.
So far, neither Belgian nor Cambodian authorities have confirmed that Ceulen, who is wanted by Interpol and owns properties in Cambodia, had returned to the Kingdom.
However, according to neighbours living on the same street in Siem Reap, he was seen arriving at his villa on January 21, the same day he was sentenced in absentia to 19 years in prison by a Belgian court for sexual assault and producing child pornography in Cambodia and the Philippines.
Though Ceulen has been wanted by Belgian authorities since 2012, his neighbours in Siem Reap say they never saw law enforcement come by the villa, even after word of his conviction began to circulate.
Despite an Interpol Red Notice being put out, law enforcement authorities in the Kingdom appear to have done little to arrest the internationally wanted predator.
Doung Theavry, the head of anti-human trafficking police in Siem Reap, said, “I want to see the arrest warrant.”
“I worked on this case, and the arrest warrant has to be cleared by the National Police commissioner,” she said, adding that child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) was informing her on the case.
Samleang Seila, APLE’s country director, said he was “80 per cent sure [Ceulen] is in Cambodia”, and that “authorities have to arrest the suspect”.
“He may run . . . Therefore the authorities should take action urgently.”
National Police chief Kirt Chantharith could not be reached yesterday, and questions as to Ceulen’s whereabouts sent to a Belgian foreign affairs spokesman remained unanswered as of press time.
Theavry said she had not received any information from Interpol’s office in Cambodia. Interpol could not be reached.
Kris Luyckx, an attorney for Belgian child protection organisation Child Focus, said yesterday that last he heard, Ceulen and his two sons were seen at the Siem Reap villa “10 days ago”, and that prior to his conviction, Ceulen had requested Cambodian citizenship, which would ostensibly protect him from extradition.
Department of Identification officials said yesterday they had no such request on record.