Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images



Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

A photo posted by the National Police of the 10 foreigners detained for "producing pornographic photographs" in Siem Reap. National Police
A photo posted by the National Police of the 10 foreigners detained for "producing pornographic photographs" in Siem Reap. National Police

Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities.

A report posted to the National Police website Saturday said that police on Thursday “cracked down on a place where pornographic pictures and tools were displayed” in an operation led by Deputy Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Police Chief Duong Thavry and coordinated by Siem Reap Provincial Court Prosecutor Keut Vannareth.

Thavry declined to comment today, referring questions to the prosecutor before adding “this case affects the face of the country”.

According to the report, 77 tourists were brought to the provincial headquarters, “educated and let free”, while 10 suspects – whom the report labelled “organisers” – were arrested.

Prosecutor Vannareth would only say he was taking action according to legal procedures before hanging up on a reporter.

Subsequent calls to Vannareth and Thavry went unanswered.

Court spokesperson Yin Srang could not be reached, while Riem Channy, a spokesperson for the court prosecutor, and Thavry’s direct superior Chea Heng, both said they lacked enough information to comment. Tep Channa, the Siem Reap town police chief, confirmed the operation was carried out by provincial police and that the municipal authorities were not involved. Tit Narong, Siem Reap provincial police chief, could not be reached for comment.

According to the National Police posting, the 10 comprised six British nationals, two Canadians, one New Zealander and one defendant whose citizenship was not identified, though Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement that it was in contact with the British nationals arrested in Cambodia, and the number of suspects was five, not six.

A relative of one of the detainees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the British Embassy in Phnom Penh had said the suspects were sent to pre-trial detention after appearing in court today on the accusation they had produced pornographic photos, a charge which is pending investigation. If charged and convicted under Article 39 of a law on sexual exploitation, which covers pornography, they could face one month to one year imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 to 2,000,000 riels, or about $50 to $500.

The family member also said the 10 were made to sign and thumbprint documents in Khmer by the court prosecutor. They described the arrest as occurring at a party at a private residence.

"At 4pm, 30 police officers arrived and arrested him and his friends. Ladies that were sunbathing by the pool in bikinis were told not to dress and had photos taken," the relative said, adding that police demanded bribes. Information about court procedures or the nature of the charges was also seemingly withheld from the detainees, according to the relative.

Alongside group shots of the suspects, the National Police also posted photos of people – fully clothed – appearing to engage in simulated sex acts. However, the individuals appear to be different from those arrested and the photos were taken at night, though the crackdown occurred during daylight hours.

In past years, authorities have clamped down on visitors posting indecent pictures of themselves at the nearby temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park, which is considered a holy site as well as a major tourism draw, but Siem Reap has otherwise long been tolerant of throngs of backpackers and other visitors engaging in the raucous local nightlife and bar scene.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there