American Arrested on Charges Of Child Pornography, Abuse

A 60-year-old US national was arrested in Phnom Penh on Monday evening for allegedly sexually abusing three young boys and producing child pornography, municipal anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Thea said Tuesday.

Mr Thea said that police suspect Mark Stephan Freitag, who worked in Phnom Penh, of having committed three separate sex crimes against children, including indecent acts, sexual intercourse and producing child pornography.

“We have found three children, and there are more that we haven’t found yet,” Mr Thea said, adding that Mr Freitag had donated rice to poor families living in Kandal province’s Phnom Udong, and in return had taken the children out for trips in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province. Mr Thea would not say what local company Mr Freitag worked for.

Police will send Mr Freitag to face charges today at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr Thea said. “He has confessed about the fault he committed,” he added of the suspect.

Samleang Seila, country director for anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which assisted police in the arrest, said Tuesday that APLE was tipped off by street children NGO Friends Interna-

tional, which spotted Mr Freitag transporting four young children on a trip last May.

“We began the work since then,” Mr Seila said, adding that Mr Freitag had not been very active until early this May when a British tourist couple saw him checking into a Siem Reap town guesthouse with four children.

The tourists notified another child protection NGO, M’lop Tap-

ang, which prompted APLE to renew its watch on Mr Freitag, said Mr Seila.

“According to our watchdog, at least 10 children were taken out for trips with him,” he said, adding that the victims include the suspect’s neighbors.

According to Mr Seila, Mr Freitag had photographed and developed hundreds of pictures of naked young boys swimming at the riverfront, and possessed many more illicit photos that he had downloaded off the Internet.


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