A SCOTTISH man who was arrested at the end of May on charges of pedophilia has
bought his way out of jail and is now living freely in Phnom Penh.
Gordon William Philip at the time of his arrest in May, in Koh Kong
addition, the father of one of the alleged victims says he was misled and
tricked by court officials into agreeing to the out-of-court
Gordon William Philip was arrested at the end of May as he
was trying to leave the country at the Koh Kong/Thailand border crossing, after
the families of two young girls he had been "fostering" complained that he had
raped and sexually abused the girls.
Philip was freed on July 27, and was
shortly afterward seen by the Post leaving his house. When asked what he was
doing, he replied: "The charges have been dropped. I am going to get out of here
as fast as possible." He was then driven off in a late-model four-wheel-drive
But there has been at least one sighting of him since then, by a
member of Interpol.
Police General Skadavy M Ly Rouen was furious that
the man had been released.
"It was wrong to let him go," he said. "The
court should have consulted Interpol. Cambodia is becoming a pedophile country:
every time we catch a pedophile, the court lets him go."
Philip's release papers, obtained by the Post, the investigating judge found no
evidence of rape or sexual misconduct between the Scotsman and the two young
Cambodian girls who were living with him.
"The only love between the man
and the victim was the love of a father and adoptee, as the victim's answers
have revealed to the investigating judge," said the release papers.
one of the young victims, Sreymom, 12, talked to the Post and said that she
herself had been touched sexually by Philip, and that she had seen him having
sexual intercourse with another girl, Phalla, 14, on two separate
The age of consent in Cambodia is 15, below which intercourse
is considered statutory rape.
Cambodian police said that money was paid
to both the victim's families to persuade them to drop the charges.
Dara, Sreymom's father, said that he had been paid $700 by the court, having
originally been offered more.
"At first they offered me over $1,000, and
I said no," he said. "Then they offered me $1,000, and then $700."
told me if I did not withdraw my charges and accept the $700, Gordon William
Philip would go to jail and I would not get any compensation," he
He then detailed how the clerk of the court forced him to sign a
compensation agreement by using his thumbprint - despite the fact that the
amount of compensation was not written on the form.
"I knew he was
cheating me, but I didn't understand the court system, or what I should do," he
During the whole proceedings, neither family had legal
representation. Yin Dara said that he did not understand his entitlements under
the law, and that he did not know how to get representation.
"I am not
happy," he said. "But I could not avoid receiving [the outcome of] the case. I
asked the clerk at the Municipal Court, 'Would you be happy if these were your
The mother of Phalla, the other victim, was awarded a higher
amount - $900. According to Dara, this was because Phalla had lost her
virginity, whereas Sreymom had not. Despite these awards, the court still
decided that there was not enough evidence to charge Philip with
Khut Leang Meng, the clerk of the court, denied that any money had
been received by the court, and said he did not know about any money given to
"There was not enough evidence for the rape," he said, "so
the charges were dropped."
But Sreymom, for one, knows what she saw and
what she was forced to do.
"Angry," she answered, when asked how she
felt about the outcome of the case.
"I thought he would take me to his
house and be my adopted father, but it was not true."
She added that she
had seen very clearly Phalla having sexual intercourse with Philip, and that
there had been bloodstains on the sheets afterwards.
Sreymom first met
Philip several months ago when she was a newspaper vendor. Just two days after
meeting her he approached her father, asking for permission to take the girl to
live with him so that he could teach her English.
Phalla had been living
with Philip for about two years at the time of the complaints.
said that she had seen other girls brought to the house while she was there, and
that sometimes Philip would share a bed with them.
At the time of his
arrest, Philip claimed that the complaints against him were in revenge for his
throwing the children out of his house after they were caught stealing fifty
General Skadavy was scathing about the justice system's lack of
protection for Cambodian children.
"I think it's a shame to see the court
send someone to the families to arrange money [instead of a trial] - we cannot
do that," he said. "It does not matter if Gordon William Philip pays ten
thousand dollars, he cannot buy and destroy Cambodian children."
means that all the other pedophiles will see that in Cambodia, if you have money
you can come here and destroy children."
Sreymom's father, when asked if
he felt he had made the right decision in accepting the money, looked
"No, it is not right," he said, "but I have no capacity, so I
have to accept this money."
Skadavy said: "These people are poor, and
when people are poor they get abused and exploited."
Skadavy said a
member of the Bangkok British Embassy had informed him that the details of the
case had already been passed to British police.
Britain's ambassador to
Cambodia, George Edgar, said he could not comment on a specific case but he said
in general terms they would make a report back to Britain if such matters were
brought to their attention.
He said that Britain had legislation that
allowed for the prosecution of British nationals in Britain for child sex
offenses committed overseas.
However he said if people came to them with
evidence of such crimes they advised them to pass the information on to the
local authorities to allow them to act on it initially.
The dismissal of
charges comes only a few weeks after a Swiss man, who was accused of raping
young boys, was released on bail with reduced charges - from rape to sexual
The judge for the case, Mong Monichariya, said that not enough
evidence was forthcoming for rape, so the charges would be reduced.
stressed that a court case was still pending, however.
William Philip is unlikely to be brought to court again, unless more evidence is
found against him.
"If I get more evidence, believe me, I will arrest him
again," said Skadavy. "And this time I will not hand him over to the court - I
will deport him."
(Names have been changed to protect the victims.)