Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Scot accused of child-sex crime roams free

Scot accused of child-sex crime roams free

Scot accused of child-sex crime roams free

philip.jpg
philip.jpg

A SCOTTISH man who was arrested at the end of May on charges of pedophilia has

bought his way out of jail and is now living freely in Phnom Penh.

Gordon William Philip at the time of his arrest in May, in Koh Kong

In

addition, the father of one of the alleged victims says he was misled and

tricked by court officials into agreeing to the out-of-court

settlement.

Gordon William Philip was arrested at the end of May as he

was trying to leave the country at the Koh Kong/Thailand border crossing, after

the families of two young girls he had been "fostering" complained that he had

raped and sexually abused the girls.

Philip was freed on July 27, and was

shortly afterward seen by the Post leaving his house. When asked what he was

doing, he replied: "The charges have been dropped. I am going to get out of here

as fast as possible." He was then driven off in a late-model four-wheel-drive

vehicle.

But there has been at least one sighting of him since then, by a

member of Interpol.

Police General Skadavy M Ly Rouen was furious that

the man had been released.

"It was wrong to let him go," he said. "The

court should have consulted Interpol. Cambodia is becoming a pedophile country:

every time we catch a pedophile, the court lets him go."

According to

Philip's release papers, obtained by the Post, the investigating judge found no

evidence of rape or sexual misconduct between the Scotsman and the two young

Cambodian girls who were living with him.

"The only love between the man

and the victim was the love of a father and adoptee, as the victim's answers

have revealed to the investigating judge," said the release papers.

But

one of the young victims, Sreymom, 12, talked to the Post and said that she

herself had been touched sexually by Philip, and that she had seen him having

sexual intercourse with another girl, Phalla, 14, on two separate

occasions.

The age of consent in Cambodia is 15, below which intercourse

is considered statutory rape.

Cambodian police said that money was paid

to both the victim's families to persuade them to drop the charges.

Yin

Dara, Sreymom's father, said that he had been paid $700 by the court, having

originally been offered more.

"At first they offered me over $1,000, and

I said no," he said. "Then they offered me $1,000, and then $700."

"They

told me if I did not withdraw my charges and accept the $700, Gordon William

Philip would go to jail and I would not get any compensation," he

said.

He then detailed how the clerk of the court forced him to sign a

compensation agreement by using his thumbprint - despite the fact that the

amount of compensation was not written on the form.

"I knew he was

cheating me, but I didn't understand the court system, or what I should do," he

said.

During the whole proceedings, neither family had legal

representation. Yin Dara said that he did not understand his entitlements under

the law, and that he did not know how to get representation.

"I am not

happy," he said. "But I could not avoid receiving [the outcome of] the case. I

asked the clerk at the Municipal Court, 'Would you be happy if these were your

children?'"

The mother of Phalla, the other victim, was awarded a higher

amount - $900. According to Dara, this was because Phalla had lost her

virginity, whereas Sreymom had not. Despite these awards, the court still

decided that there was not enough evidence to charge Philip with

rape.

Khut Leang Meng, the clerk of the court, denied that any money had

been received by the court, and said he did not know about any money given to

the victims.

"There was not enough evidence for the rape," he said, "so

the charges were dropped."

But Sreymom, for one, knows what she saw and

what she was forced to do.

"Angry," she answered, when asked how she

felt about the outcome of the case.

"I thought he would take me to his

house and be my adopted father, but it was not true."

She added that she

had seen very clearly Phalla having sexual intercourse with Philip, and that

there had been bloodstains on the sheets afterwards.

Sreymom first met

Philip several months ago when she was a newspaper vendor. Just two days after

meeting her he approached her father, asking for permission to take the girl to

live with him so that he could teach her English.

Phalla had been living

with Philip for about two years at the time of the complaints.

Sreymom

said that she had seen other girls brought to the house while she was there, and

that sometimes Philip would share a bed with them.

At the time of his

arrest, Philip claimed that the complaints against him were in revenge for his

throwing the children out of his house after they were caught stealing fifty

dollars.

General Skadavy was scathing about the justice system's lack of

protection for Cambodian children.

"I think it's a shame to see the court

send someone to the families to arrange money [instead of a trial] - we cannot

do that," he said. "It does not matter if Gordon William Philip pays ten

thousand dollars, he cannot buy and destroy Cambodian children."

"This

means that all the other pedophiles will see that in Cambodia, if you have money

you can come here and destroy children."

Sreymom's father, when asked if

he felt he had made the right decision in accepting the money, looked

distressed.

"No, it is not right," he said, "but I have no capacity, so I

have to accept this money."

Skadavy said: "These people are poor, and

when people are poor they get abused and exploited."

Skadavy said a

member of the Bangkok British Embassy had informed him that the details of the

case had already been passed to British police.

Britain's ambassador to

Cambodia, George Edgar, said he could not comment on a specific case but he said

in general terms they would make a report back to Britain if such matters were

brought to their attention.

He said that Britain had legislation that

allowed for the prosecution of British nationals in Britain for child sex

offenses committed overseas.

However he said if people came to them with

evidence of such crimes they advised them to pass the information on to the

local authorities to allow them to act on it initially.

The dismissal of

charges comes only a few weeks after a Swiss man, who was accused of raping

young boys, was released on bail with reduced charges - from rape to sexual

assault.

The judge for the case, Mong Monichariya, said that not enough

evidence was forthcoming for rape, so the charges would be reduced.

He

stressed that a court case was still pending, however.

Meanwhile, Gordon

William Philip is unlikely to be brought to court again, unless more evidence is

found against him.

"If I get more evidence, believe me, I will arrest him

again," said Skadavy. "And this time I will not hand him over to the court - I

will deport him."

(Names have been changed to protect the victims.)

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