TWO Cambodians and an American were arrested over the weekend in a sting operation on a paedophile sex ring that officials said Sunday they believe has been operating for seven years.
Bith Kimhong, director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, identified the Cambodian suspects as a 36-year-old taxi driver and a 47-year-old guesthouse owner.
A six-month investigation, aided by the French Police’s International Technical Cooperation Delegation (SCTIP), found that the taxi driver had been advertising underage virgin girls on the Internet for US$3,000 a night since 2003.
He would pick up customers from Phnom Penh airport and show them pictures before taking them to meet the girls at a guesthouse owned by the second suspect, according to a local SCTIP officer, who asked not to be named.
“We have arrested the [suspects] who provided underage girls. During the investigation, we found they were providing three underage girls to the US man, too,” said Bith Kimhong, referring to a 58-year-old American, whose arrest Saturday in Phnom Penh led to the seizure of a trove of child pornography.
“Now we are investigating the case further to see if they have a wider network,” Bith Kimhong said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP