Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former APLE director gets 3 years for abuse

Former APLE director gets 3 years for abuse

Former orphanage director Hang Vibol, who was yesterday convicted of child sexual abuse, appears at Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year.
Former orphanage director Hang Vibol, who was yesterday convicted of child sexual abuse, appears at Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year. Hong Menea

Former APLE director gets 3 years for abuse

Former orphanage director and one-time head of child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) Hang Vibol was yesterday convicted of sexually abusing six children living under his care and sentenced to three years in prison, according to a Phnom Penh Municipal Court official.

Presiding judge Kim Rathnarin found Vibol, the former director of Our Home orphanage, guilty of committing indecent acts against a minor under 15 years old, the official, who declined to be named, said.

The 46-year-old was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and $1,250 compensation to four of the five plaintiffs in the case, who were minors at the time, the official said.

The other plaintiff, a parent with two children, will get $2,500, he added.

Vibol, who directed APLE between 2003 and 2004, was arrested in March of last year, based on complaints from at least 12 children living at his orphanage, which he started after leaving APLE.

Some of the victims withdrew their complaints, current APLE director Samleang Seila said yesterday, adding the group would appeal because they believed the sentence too lenient and compensation too little.

“Many children have severe trauma and need more money to spend on their treatment,” he said.

APLE’s connection to the case, which it helped investigate, came under scrutiny during the trial in October, when Vibol claimed the allegations against him were fabricated by APLE founder Thierry Darnaudet and ex-staffer Jean Marie Anno.

According to Vibol’s lawyer at the time, the pair was aggrieved because Vibol reported them to authorities for allegedly embezzling donor funds.

Speaking via phone from France yesterday, Darnaudet said he was “shocked” to learn of the conviction, though he recalled his former colleague’s “evil” streak.

He said Vibol’s claims against him were made-up to keep him out of the country, because Vibol saw him as a threat to his donor funds.

While Darnaudet conceded there was a conflict of interest in APLE investigating the case, he maintained it was warranted.

“We knew that it was going to look strange for most people, but we thought deeply about that and decided at the end of the day, if it is true that some of these children are being abused, that’s our job, that’s our work, to do something about that.”

Vibol’s defence lawyer, Suy Sokhon, could not be reached yesterday.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Government denies claims former Thai PM Yingluck issued Cambodian passport

    Government officials on Thursday denied claims that a Cambodian passport was issued to former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who reportedly used it to register a company in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based English language South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday reported Hong Kong

  • US’ Cambodian ambassador appointment blocked

    The US Senate returned the nomination of Patrick Murphy as Ambassador to Cambodia back to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, as the American government shutdown entered its third week. The US Senate website announcement said it returned Murphy’s nomination as ambassador as his

  • ‘Indian’ tuk-tuk drivers take flak

    The drivers of “Indian” metered tuk-tuks are facing widespread criticism for failing to respect traffic laws and causing traffic jams and accidents. Nay Sitha, a resident of Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, spoke to The Post about the difficulties he faces, especially when travelling to

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as