Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japanese photojournalist to face charge of producing pornography

Japanese photojournalist to face charge of producing pornography

Japanese photojournalist to face charge of producing pornography

THE Siem Reap provincial court will try a Japanese man next week on charges of producing pornography, though the defendant claims the photos were shot as part of an inoffensive project for the recently-concluded Angkor Photo Festival.

Chea Heng, deputy chief of Siem Reap’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office, said Go Takayama, 28, had been arrested last month after he hired a Cambodian man and a female sex worker to take him to photograph women at a brothel in Siem Reap district’s Thvay Dangkum commune.

Police discovered 78 illicit photos on Takayama’s camera that depicted sex workers in Siem Reap, Chea Heng added.

“I think this is a serious offence that has affected Cambodian women and society,” he said. “We request the court to punish him strongly in accordance with the law.”

But Jessica Lim, coordinator assistant for the Angkor Photo Festival, said Takayama’s photos depicted a single married couple and did not include any nudity, though she acknowledged that she had not had the chance to scrutinise them closely, as she had only seen thumbnail photos.

“The couple, in some of the pictures they’re posing next to each other, as in a portrait shot, and in others they’re standing there hugging each other,” Lim said.

“There’s absolutely no nudity… there’s nothing you can see. If anything, it’s the viewer’s imagination.”

Lim said Takayama had travelled to Cambodia to participate in a workshop as part of the photo festival.

“The idea of him looking for sex workers and being asked to be taken to brothels – I think both are extremely inaccurate,” she said.

Siem Reap provincial prosecutor Ty Soveinthal said Takayama had been charged under the Kingdom’s anti-human trafficking law and faced between six months and one year in prison.

“Making or publishing pornographic pictures is absolutely prohibited in Cambodia and is in violation of Cambodian law, so the court will make a decision on this next week,” Ty Soveinthal said.

110 photographers hosted exhibitions at the Angkor Photo Festival, which ran from November 20 to 27.

“I think the pictures that were taken by Go Takayama are not pornographic, but artistic,” said Suon Sophea, Takayama’s defence attorney.

“If we compare the pictures to Cambodian films, or the photos of singers and stars that appear in Cambodian magazines, they are not the worst thing in Cambodia.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,