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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police detain mobile porn peddlers in Kandal sting

Police detain mobile porn peddlers in Kandal sting

090430_04.jpg
090430_04.jpg

31 Takhmao market vendors detained and released without charge but police say they will destroy confiscated computers.

Photo by:

HENG CHIVOAN 

A shop in Phnom Penh shows how to download porn onto a mobile phone on Wednesday - despite a massive police crackdown.

POLICE briefly detained 31 market vendors in Kandal province Tuesday after the men were suspected of having transferred pornographic videos onto mobile phones, local authorities told the Post.

Provincial police Chief Eav Chamroeun said local officers arrested the men, all in their 20s, at stalls in Takhmao district's Takhmao market, confiscating their computers for further examination.

"We went to arrest [them] after the court issued a warrant, and we have confiscated 31 computers to check them for pornographic material," he said.

He added that 27 of the computers had so far turned out pornographic videos,

but that the four remaining machines had so far turned up nothing. "It might be that they knew we were coming and deleted [the  porn] before we arrived," he said.

"We wouldn't have confiscated the computers if they were only putting music onto the mobile phones, but they were sharing pornography through mobile phones, and they were making a business out of it."

Deputy provincial police Chief Roeun Nara said such activities could have a serous impact on the country's social attitudes and were illegal under Articles 38 and 39 of the 2008 Anti-human Trafficking Law, which carry a maximum penalty of  2 million riels (US$486) or a month in prison.

[SUCH IMAGES] seriously impact our culture - especially for Khmer women...

But he said the men were released by police without charge.
"We have educated them to stop doing [these things] and asked their parents to come and sign their names as a guarantee," he said, adding that the seized computer equipment would be destroyed.

Authorities have cracked down on racy and sexually explicit imagery since mid-February, when Prime Minister Hun Sen's wife, Bun Rany, addressed an annual meeting of the National Committee on the Promotion of Social Morality, Women and Family Values, requesting that the Ministry of Information withdraw from sale magazines featuring inappropriate images.

"[Such images] seriously impact our culture - especially for Khmer women - and ... cause a lot of suspected rape cases," said Sok Eun, director of the provincial Department of Culture and Fine Arts in Kandal, citing the popular but unproven theory behind the crackdown on such images.

Men Makara, a provincial monitor for the rights group Adhoc,  said he agreed there was a link between pornographic videos and rape.

"Because many people are watching these videos, there are a lot of suspects in rape cases. [The videos] give them easy thrills," he said, but added that the occurrence of rape was also affected by drug use and lack of education.

He said there were 10 reported rape cases in Kandal in the first four months of 2009, down from 21 in the same period last year. 

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