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Police arrest man in pagoda voyeur case

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Police gather evidence related to the video scandal at Srah Chak pagoda, including discs and a computer confiscated from a monk suspected of recording women bathing there.

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court sentenced a man to a month in jail after finding him guilty of distributing pornographic videos linked to a defrocked monk, officials said.

Keo Thea, director of the municipal bureau of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection, said that Soeun Sophak, 24, was arrested in Tuol Kork district on Thursday after police found him downloading video clips of naked women bathing at Srah Chak pagoda.

“We are now searching for others who are watching these video clips,” he said.

“Those who do will face interrogation by police and punishment under the law.”

The video was allegedly taken by Neth Kai, a 35-year-old monk at the pagoda who was arrested on June 26 and is serving pretrial detention. He has been accused of using a cell phone to secretly record hundreds of videos of women showering in a public bathroom at the pagoda.

In the wake of the scandal, Neth Kai was quickly defrocked, and Phnom Penh Municipal Court has charged him with producing and distributing pornography. If found guilty, he faces a sentence of a month to a year in jail and a fine of between US$48 and $480.

Meas Kung, 45, the former chief abbot of Srah Chak pagoda, was forced to resign from his post after news of the monk’s voyeurism was made public.

He said yesterday that he has since worked to refute allegations that he was involved in the filming of the videos.

“I am still terribly regretful and disappointed for Neth Kai’s worthless attitude to do such a foolish thing,” Meas Kung said.

“I welcome all police efforts to delete these video clips, in order to protect the value of women and to restore Buddhism’s reputation. Anyone who is caught viewing these video clips must be held responsible by law.”

Keo Thea said Soeun Sophak was the first man besides Neth Kai to be arrested in connection with the Srah Chak videos, but that police expect to make more arrests.

“If people are caught watching these video clips, they will face a punishment of a week to a month in jail and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 riels,” he said. “This is a move to restore the value of women.”

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