American Arrested for Abusing Underage Girls in Phnom Penh

Police arrested an American man Friday night in Phnom Penh after they allegedly caught him sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in the presence of two other underage girls, an official and an NGO said Sunday.

Pol Phiethey, director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said Sunday that police arrested Brian Naswall on Koh Pich island in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.

“I can only tell you that that guy is American and he will be sent to the court tomorrow,” Mr. Phiethey said, declining to provide further details.

Samleang Seila, country director of anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), whose organization assisted police in their investigation, said commune police arrested Mr. Naswell in the act of abusing the 12-year-old.

“He was caught red-handed by the local police,” he said.

Mr. Seila said that six alleged victims had come forward so far in Phnom Penh to give statements and he expected more victims would be found as the investigation progresses.

“Police are also looking at other witnesses and victims as well as digital evidence,” he said. “They suspect he was producing pornographic material.”

According to a statement released Sunday by APLE, Mr. Naswall allegedly lured the girls to a quiet area on Koh Pich island with the promise of money before abusing the 12-year-old.

The statement also identified Mr. Naswall as the CEO of Aero Cambodia, a Phnom Penh-based aviation firm that operates throughout the country.

Mr. Seila said that because Mr. Naswall traveled frequently as part of his job, APLE suspects his alleged abuse could be widespread.

“Police are looking [today] to finish up their inquiry with witnesses and possible victims and send the case to court,” he said.

In another case on Thursday, the Preah Sihanouk provincial court sentenced Philippe Broaly, 50, the former director of NGO Enfants du Cambodge, to 14 months in prison for sexually abusing five boys in his care.

The court, however, suspended his sentence and only required him to serve eight months, allowing him to walk free in a matter of weeks.

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