Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Age debated as man pleads not guilty in child sex case

Age debated as man pleads not guilty in child sex case

Age debated as man pleads not guilty in child sex case

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday heard the case of a 53-year-old Cambodian man who pleaded not guilty to the charge of purchasing child prostitution, arguing that the girl in question was above the legal age of consent.

Businessman Meas Chanthoeun, 53, was arrested on September 23 during a police raid on a hotel room in 7 Makara district’s Veal Vong commune, which he was sharing with the alleged victim. Keu Sen, 49, and Chan Pov, 32, were also arrested in connection with the case.

Meas Chanthoeun told the court that he had been introduced to the alleged victim through Keu Sen, who he said had asked him if he wanted the girl to become his mistress.

“The girl’s father was having medical treatment, so I gave her US$200 through Chan Pov to help her father in the treatment of his illness,” he said.
He said he then drove the victim to the hotel, where he was arrested.

“We were in the room for only five minutes and I had not touched her,” he said, and added that he thought the girl was over the legal age of consent.

“I really wanted a relationship with the girl as my mistress, as she was 19 at the time, and that is not against the law,” he said.

Court officials spent hours debating the girl’s age, and two family books were entered as evidence. One book indicated that the girl was born in 1991, meaning she would have been 18 at the time of the incident, while another indicated that she was born in 1995, meaning she would have been 14.

The victim’s father, Van Phal, told the court his daughter was born in 1991. “When her first family book registered that she was born in 1995, there was confusion in the year [of birth],” he said during the hearing.

Thoy Sokun, one of Meas Chanthoeun’s three defence lawyers, said this statement was sufficient proof that she is now 19.

“The victim’s real age is 19 according to the confirmation from her parents, which is legal under the human trafficking law,” he said.

Uk Saroeun, the victim’s lawyer, said his client was seeking $10,000 in compensation from the suspects.

Presiding judge Ke Sokhan said a verdict would be read out on June 10.


  • EU parliament’s 13-point vote to decide on possible sanctions

    The European Parliament is due to vote on Thursday on a 13-point resolution on Cambodia – which includes a call for the treason charges against bailed opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped – a threat that could see the EU enforce a range of sanctions against

  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment