Lawyers and police have expressed concern that a French pedophile suspect is living
freely in Sihanoukville and will be able to threaten potential witnesses. The suspect,
Pierre Guynot, also recently sent an email to a local NGO, Friends, threatening to
turn Phnom Penh into a "throat-cutting place for Europeans" after the NGO
encouraged boys to testify against him.
The lawyer for the majority of the alleged victims told the Post that families of
potential witnesses were now living in fear. Chum Sophea, a lawyer registered with
the Cambodian Bar Association, said some families of alleged victims told him they
had been threatened to withdraw their complaints.
"The victims' families told me that Guynot's foster son threatened to kill them
and burn down their houses," said Chum Sophea. "Now they are scared. They
are wondering if the problem will end if they agree to accept $600 each to withdraw
the complaints against Guynot."
Pierre Guynot appeared in court at a preliminary hearing in Sihanoukville November
30 on charges of debauchery and illegal possession of a weapon. His adoptive son
was charged with illegal confinement of a minor.
The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence against Guynot and instructed further
investigation be carried out to find more victims. Guynot was released on bail the
"Although the evidence has not been proven 100 percent, Pierre Guynot cannot
escape the law," said Chum Sophea. "[Based on] the evidence, the verdict
should be delivered convicting him on the charge of debauchery."
Guynot, 45, has run a go-karting business in Sihanoukville since 1995. He was arrested
May 31 last year.
Tak Kimsea, the prosecuting judge at Sihanoukville court, said he would finish his
investigation early next month after revisiting the victims. He said some of the
witnesses had been pressured into testifying against Guynot by a local NGO.
"They said they were persuaded by an organization [Mith Samlanh/Friends] and
were pushed to complain against Guynot," said Kimsea, adding that two of the
boys had since recanted their testimony.
Police officer Chhrin Vanne, who led the investigation, said some of the boys who
had changed their testimony told him they had fled Guynot's house and taken refuge
in Phnom Penh at Friends. He said one boy, whose genitals were padlocked, claimed
he was sexually abused by Guynot while staying at his house.
Vanne said he did not know why that boy had withdrawn his complaint, but suggested
Guynot should be sent back to jail to protect the victims.
Guynot recently sent an email to Friends threatening to "cut the throats"
of "Europeans in Phnom Penh". That was in response to a documentary about
his case broadcast by French station TF1, whose journalist interviewed him in prison
last year. Guynot believes that a French expatriate who spoke out against Guynot
in the documentary was Sébastian Marot, coordinator of Friends.
"...TF1 to whom I gave [an interview] for two hours, showed only five minutes,"
wrote Guynot. "The voice of the 'investigator' of the Phnom Penh NGO was recognized,
so this man is identified... Now I go to bed, alone and quiet, knowing that from
this evening this is a beginning, the streets of Phnom Penh will become a throat-cutting
The email goes on to state that Guynot would stay in Sihanoukville "waiting
the 'continuous information' broadcasts to me some death notices (sic) that will
not come from the Gaza Strip".
Friends has contacted the embassies of its staff to alert them of the threats to
The case of suspected Italian pedophile Luigi Falchi is currently pending trial.
Falchi was arrested November 26 last year for allegedly paying money to have sex
with three boys aged between 7 and 12, in Poipet. The prosecuting judge, Nou Yarith,
said the suspect can speak only Italian and was looking for an Italian-speaking lawyer
to represent him.