Accused Internet pornographer Dan Sandler has surfaced again in Phnom Penh, saying he will not create any more sexually explicit Web sites and has offered to expose at least one child-sex ring in exchange for being allowed to remain in Cambodia.
Sandler was arrested and deported to the US eight months ago for developing a bondage-sex Web site featuring local prostitutes. Despite the Interior Ministry’s ban on his returning to Cambodia, he recently walked through a Thai-Cambodia border crossing with a new US passport and a tourist visa, he said.
“I just want to live here in Cambodia,” Sandler said in an interview Tuesday. “I’m very obsessed with this country. I just feel like I belong here.”
Both government officials and the US Embassy are making inquiries as to how Sandler was so easily allowed to enter the country. Cambodian police officials said Monday they would arrest Sandler when they found him.
Instead of Internet porn, which he called a misguided attempt to make money, Sandler said he wants and develop some sort of computer business locally.
He defended a Web page he created with a picture of a young Cambodian girl, the Funcinpec party logo and the words, “Call your travel agent today. Visit Cambodia! Twelve-year-old child prostitute…” as a way to call attention to trafficking children for sex and attack an NGO community he claims is harassing him.
“I did that to shock the NGOs, to freak them out. I was just being a brat,” he said.
On this second visit to Cambodia, Sandler has apparently tried to reinvent himself as an advocate for sexually exploited children, saying he knew of at least one brothel catering to customers wanting sex with young girls.
But he said he would only give up this establishment to authorities if he got a written guarantee from the US Embassy that he would be allowed to stay in the country.
US Ambassador Kent Wiedemann said Tuesday the embassy’s only involvement at this point is to ask how Sandler entered the country.
The decision on whether to allow him to remain “is up to the government,” Wiedemann said.