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Pair held in child porn case

Pair held in child porn case

A Frenh national and his Cambodian wife arrested on Sunday and Monday respectively in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district were charged in Municipal Court yesterday for producing and distributing child pornography.

Mathias Cassar, 35, a French designer and photographer, was arrested on Sunday morning at his rental house in Russey Village, Stung Meanchey commune. His Cambodian wife, Duong Davy, 25, was also arrested and accused of serving as an accomplice in producing child pornography and selling the images online, according to Keo Thea, director of the municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection office at the Ministry of Interior.

“This Frenchman was arrested while he was photographing three girls aged less than 13 years old in his house on Sunday. He was officially charged yesterday with producing child pornography and selling the images of children online,” Keo Thea said, adding that the suspects will be sent to Prey Sar Prison soon for pre-trial detention.

Three years after a series of tip-offs from the suspects’ neighbours and a subsequent investigation, the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants alerted the police about the case. Eight underage girls were identified at the suspects’ home, Keo Thea said.

Photo equipment and a computer containing pornographic images of children were found during the arrest, police said, adding that the male suspect had admitted to selling the images online. If convicted, he could face between 10 and 20 years in prison.

In a separate case, a 60-year-old French tourist was charged on Monday with sexual harassment of three boys aged between 12 and 14 in Preah Sihanouk province.

Bernard Bouillier was arrested at a guesthouse on Saturday in Sihanoukville’s Commune 4 after his alleged victims made complaints to police, Preah Sihanouk deputy police chief Chor Heng said.

Samleang Seila, director of APLE, said that according to his organisation’s most recent figures, seven foreigners have faced charges for sex crimes since January in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk.

“To crack down on child abuse and human trafficking in Cambodia, I would like to ask the police and the court the strengthen the law and strongly punish all offenders involved in these crimes,” he said.

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