A Russian businessman who has plans to develop an island off the coast of Sihanoukville
was arrested at his home and charged with debauchery following a three month investigation
into a complaint by the parents of a 14-year-old Cambodian girl.
Alexander Trofimov was apprehended at 10 am October 17 in his Sihanoukville home
on a warrant from October 16 following complaints from the girl's family who claimed
she had been sold to Trofimov by a middleman.
Trofimov, 41, arrived for questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday
morning. The court prosecutor said he had been charged with debauchery, the legal
term in Cambodia for sex crimes with a minor.
"With the evidence that we gathered from our investigation we believe that it
will be enough to convict him and bring him to justice," said Bith Kim Hong,
chief of anti-trafficking department of the Ministry of Interior, who investigated
Hong said the family of the girl filed a complaint to the courts because their daughter
was sold to Trofimov in 2005 by 34-year-old Phal Vannara. Vannara was arrested on
September 3. He is in jail.
The girl had been tricked by Vannara, Hong said. She escaped from Trofimov's home
and went to police.
No further details were available.
Investigation into this and six other cases by the anti-trafficking department and
International Justice Missions (IJM) began in July, Hong said.
He said his department is currently filing a new complaint with a Sihanoukville court
regarding an offense, which he said took place a few weeks ago. The new case involves
a 13-year-old Sihanoukville girl.
The five other alleged victims are also from Sihanoukville. Complaints have not yet
been filed in those cases.
IJM's field office director Patrick Stayton had no comment on whether or not further
charges would be made, saying those decisions will be made by the courts.
Trofimov, who has had no previous charges for sex offences, was escorted from the
court room and taken to Prey Sar Prison. He had no comment.
He is chairman of the Koh Puos Investment Group (KPIG).
Trofimov in September 2006 announced plans to invest $300 million into the development
of Sihanoukville's Koh Puos or Snake Island, following the signing of the lease agreement
last year. The plans included the construction of a luxury hotel and restaurant,
bungalows, parks and a bridge connecting the island to Hawaii beach.