Alleged Pedophile Questioned, But Not Charged

US national and suspected ped­o­phile Michael John Koklich was questioned at Phnom Penh Mu­ni­ci­pal Court Monday but has yet to be charged with any offense, Dep­­uty Prosecutor Sok Kalyan said.

The allegations against Koklich, who crashed his motorbike into a po­lice barricade in a bid to evade ar­rest on Friday, are too extensive to make an immediate decision on his case, Sok Kalyan said.

“I didn’t have enough time to look at the documents,” Sok Kalyan said. “His deeds are too many, so I need to look at it carefully.”

Speaking to reporters outside the court, an unrepentant Koklich ad­mitted to having sex with underage girls, but downplayed the gravity of the offense.

“I confess to the charge but I don’t confess to the murder of the girls,” said Koklich, 50, adding that he had only had sex with the girls for “a very short period—not very long.”

He also complained about the circumstances of his detention.

“I can’t call anybody. I want a law­yer,” Koklich said, adding that he had been denied food as well as a tel­e­phone in detention.

Keo Thea, deputy municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police chief, said police have tried to feed Koklich.

“We even begged him to eat but he didn’t eat rice,” Keo Thea said. “He wanted to eat vegetables and fruits, and we bought them for him.”

He said a lack of telephone access is standard, add­ing that Koklich can ask for a lawyer in court.

At the impoverished squatter community near the Rus­sian Em­bas­sy in Tonle Bassac commune, Chhim Damom, 34, said her 13-year-old daughter was one of Koklich’s alleged victims, and was taken briefly into care by local rights group Licadho following the arrest but has since returned home.

“He bought her bracelets, anklets and a mobile phone,” Chhim Da­mom said. “I told her not to be lured by that.”

 

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