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Monk convicted for porn to face fresh charges

Monk convicted for porn to face fresh charges

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has scheduled a new hearing for a monk convicted last month of producing and distributing pornography after secretly filming hundreds of naked women at a pagoda.

Neth Kai, 35, a former monk at Srah Chak pagoda, was arrested on June 26 after being accused of using a mobile phone to secretly record the videos, which were then distributed.

Four women have filed complaints against the monk since then.

In a case that involved only one complainant, the court in September sentenced Neth Kai to one year in prison and ordered him to pay US$9,456 in compensation, as well as a $472 fine.

Neth Kai’s defence lawyer, Chea Kay, said the court had sent him a letter requesting his attendance at a hearing on October 21 related to the remaining three complainants, two of whom were underage at the time of the filming.

“He is facing the same charges against the three victims, but two were aged between 16 and 17,” he said.

Because of the two underage victims, Chea Hay said the monk faces a much stiffer penalty if found guilty in the second case.

He said Article 41 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation stipulates that he faces a sentence of between five to 10 years in prison.
“I will attend the hearings to defend my client and find ways to free him of the charges,” he said.
Monks, laymen and nuns were forced to vacate the pagoda when the scandal broke. Meas Kung, the former chief abbot, was forced to resign from his post.
Chhoeung Bunchea, who was appointed chief abbot of the pagoda following Meas Kung’s dismissal, said yesterday that the situation at the pagoda “has been improving gradually” since his appointment.
“Lots of people still came to the pagoda during the Pchum Ben festival and worshipped, because they understand that this is an individual incident committed by Neth Kai, and does not involve the religion,” he said.
He said that the decision to charge the disgraced monk again was “right and just”.
“Justice is pending for the victims who were secretly filmed,” he added.

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