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Swiss national held on child-sex charges

PREAH Sihanouk provincial court yesterday charged a Swiss national with committing indecent acts with four underage boys during a holiday to Sihanoukville.

The 79-year-old holidaymaker was arrested on Saturday night after he arose suspicions among NGOs and local officials, said Kim Eng, deputy director of the provincial court.

Kim Eng said the accused has denied to police that he had committed any indecent acts with minors, but said there was “enough proof” to charge the man.

Cho Heang, deputy provincial police chief yesterday, said police started investigating the accused after his suspicious behaviour drew the attention of local authorities.

“During his holiday we thought that he sexually harassed little children, and on the last day we arrested him, we saw him persuading a boy to commit sexual acts on O’Chheuteal beach,” he said.

Soun Sophan, deputy director the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, said investigations into the Swiss national started on December 20.

“We suspect that he sexually harassed four boys during the time of his stay in Sihanoukville, all of whom were under the age of 15 years,” he said.

Cheap Sotheary, provincial monitor for local rights group Adhoc, said child-sex offenders continued to be a problem in the popular beach town.

“Most of the local children at the beach are very poor and try to sell souvenirs to tourists, but all of them are at risk of sexual harassment or indecent acts if someone persuades them,” Cheap Sotheary said. “I’m worried because their parents do not care about the impacts.”



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