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Singer faces charges

Singer Ou Reaksmey sits in a chair after being detained by authorities
Singer Ou Reaksmey sits in a chair after being detained by authorities in Phnom Penh. STRINGER

Singer faces charges

A singer who has appeared on national television was arrested on Saturday and sent to court yesterday, accused of arranging for rich foreign visitors to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, a senior police official said yesterday.

Lieutenant Colonel Keo Thea, chief of the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police in Phnom Penh, described Ou Reaksmey, 36, a singer for Chhlong Den karaoke productions, as a “human broker”.

“She has promised to make the victim a famous film star or karaoke performer if she has sex with her customers who are from overseas,” he said. “She has arranged sex with them many times.”

Thea said the arrest of Reaksmey, who appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, came after a complaint was filed by the girl’s parents, who had not seen their daughter for two days.

Reaksmey’s list of achievements as a singer includes television performances, a “superstar interview” last year with Bayon TV and filmed performances for the Raksmey Reymeas production group.

If Reaksmey goes to trial and is found guilty, she could be imprisoned for up to 10 years, Thea said.

“She was preliminarily accused by our police of three charges: procurement of prostitution, soliciting [someone] for child prostitution and the act of selling, buying or exchanging a person with the purpose of … human trafficking and sexual exploitation,” he said.

Yi Moden, deputy director of field operations at child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said the organisation had assisted police in their investigation and would provide “social and legal support” to the victim and her family.

“This was not the first time that APLE has heard about this grooming method; the intermediaries sometimes use this method to exploit vulnerable girls who want to become famous singers or film stars,” Moden said.

Chan Piseth, the deputy prosecutor at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in charge of the case, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Reaksmey and her lawyer also could not be reached.

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