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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man about town: 01 August 2014

Man about town: 01 August 2014

Has Siem Reap, and indeed Cambodia, seen the last of Swiss pedophile Rudolf Knuchel? There are many in town who certainly hope so and their wishes may now possibly be granted.

Last Friday, a court in Phnom Penh sentenced the repeat offender to a “suspended two-year” prison sentence after he was found guilty of child sex purchase. He was also ordered to be deported on the completion of his prison term, and to pay $2,500 compensation to his victim.

According to Xinhua, “With the suspension, Knuchel will be released from jail in two months.”

It will indeed then be interesting to see if he is booted out of the country.

Knuchel in his heyday as upmarket hotel manager and restaurateur in Siem Reap was a distinguished-looking meticulously dressed leading identity in town. He was quiet an urbane and charming man, a former general manager at the Grand Hotel, now Raffles Hotel d’Angkor, and at other hotels like Royal Angkor Resort and Allson Angkor Hotel.

In September 2011, he contacted Insider, claiming he had also been general manager of the Amansara hotel.

When he was first arrested on January 26, 2000 on sex charges he was widely supported by expats in town who believed his claim that the charges were trumped up by powerful people who wanted to wrest control of his prime real estate holding in Sivutha Boulevard.

On January 19, 2001 Phnom Penh Post reported, “Siem Reap court officials and child protection authorities are predicting that the long-delayed Jan 26 trial of suspected Swiss paedophile Rudolph Knuchel will result in his acquittal.

“’People should be pessimistic about the possibility of a conviction,’ said a Siem Reap court official who spoke to the Post about Knuchel's case on a condition of anonymity. ‘The case has been very difficult to pursue.’

“A long-time Siem Reap restaurateur, Knuchel was arrested on Jan 26, 2000 during a police raid in which he was found almost naked in the company of two boys aged 14and 18 years old. Knuchel was subsequently charged with debauchery and rape by a total of eight Siem Reap youths who alleged a pattern of sexual abuse by Knuchel spanning several years.

“Knuchel's case suffered delays due to what court officials describe as ‘evidence gathering problems’.”

During his trial in 2002, many influential Siem Reap expats vouched and testified for him, and he was acquitted.

But expat sympathy for Knuchel soured dramatically in August 2009 when he was arrested again, and then found guilty in 2010 for sexual intercourse with a minor under 15. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Then in October 2013, Knuchel was again arrested after an underage boy disclosed having performed sexual activities with him in exchange for money.

Now hopefully his sad history in Cambodia will come to an end with a deportation that really should have been enacted some time back. And no one in Siem Reap is expressing any sort of sympathy.

Another day, another list – travel site Wego, together with partners TrustYou, have released their take on the top 15 hotel swimming pools in the Asia Pacific region.

Top of the list is The Plantation in Phnom Penh. But Siem Reap is well represented, snagging the next three slots with number two –Borei Angkor Resort; number three – Lotus Blanc Resort; and number four – Victoria Angkor Resort. The little known Golden Temple Hotel ranked at number eleven.

But missing from the list were two of the expat’s most loved watering holes – the big saltwater pool at Prince D’Angkor Resort and the large pool at Angkor Century Resort.



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