A video of 10 foreigners arrested in Siem Reap for allegedly “producing pornography” during a pool party shows the detainees apologising while also questioning why they had been arrested.
The incident occurred on January 25 at a villa in Siem Reap town’s Svay Dangkum commune where some 30 anti-human trafficking police arrested 10 people linked to a pub crawl called Let’s Get Wet for “pornographic dancing”, though a witness said there was no nudity at the party.
Phum Buntenh, who recently joined the group’s legal team, said two other lawyers had been hired as well, by friends and family of the suspects.
“They asked me to be their lawyer after they were sent to jail [pre-trial detention],” he said. “Now, I am preparing documents to send to their individual embassies, and another document to submit to the investigative judge.”
A video posted to YouTube of the 10, seemingly at Siem Reap Provincial Court, where they faced an investigating judge last month, shows the group reluctantly answering questions.
They say they do not want to be on television and they don’t know why they were arrested.
“I have been here two years, I respect the culture and I help the children and I help Cambodian families. I do not want to make any problems with Cambodia,” said Daniel Jones, one those detained. “Please tell me my mistake? And I say I am sorry.”
All 10 then proceeded to apologise in Khmer in unison. Buntenh said he had instructed his clients not to talk to anyone but the legal team and embassy representatives.
“If someone forced them to do so, it meant that they forced them to accept their mistake or committed crime,” he said, adding that there was no evidence against the 10 individuals.
“It is normal that tourists bathe and dance wearing bikinis. If they accused them that they were wrong, they should go to arrest many others at Kampong Som’s [Sihanoukville] beaches where they [tourists] sunbathe,” he said.
Buntenh added that his clients had mentioned that police had demanded bribes from them but declined to clarify yesterday.
“My client said that after they put them in jail. I don’t know how much they demanded. I just heard they said that they had some problems related to money,” he said.
However, the lawyer told British tabloid the Sun that the police had demanded bribes from the 10 detainees during the arrest, claiming they were even willing to accept 2000 riel, or $0.50.
Local police officials, anti-human trafficking officers and town Governor So Platong could not be reached yesterday.