US pedophile suspect Terry Darrell Smith was rearrested Wednesday afternoon near the US Embassy and may now be deported to the US to confront charges of child sex abuse, police and NGO officials said.
Smith’s lawyer Khieu Sambo said he was aware of his client’s arrest, but was unclear of the details. He added that Smith had assured him there was no outstanding warrant for him in the US.
Sihanoukville Municipal Court released Smith, 54, and his Cambodian girlfriend Chea Sovannary, 26, Aug 31, one month after charging them both with debauchery. The court said it released Smith because he was too sick to remain in detention.
Anti-pedophile NGO International Justice Mission had voiced concern about the release, stating that Smith is also wanted in the US on 13 counts of child sex abuse.
A senior immigration police official said Smith was arrested around 5 pm and is being held at the immigration police headquarters near Phnom Penh International Airport.
“We acted according to the request from the US Embassy,” the official said on the condition of anonymity. He added that police were watching the US Embassy to see if Smith came back to get a new passport.
US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle could not be reached for comment.
Sihanoukville Municipal Court Director Svay Sisarouth said she was unaware of the arrest, but claimed that she had been aware of Smith’s location since she ordered his release from prison Aug 31. She also reiterated that she had been right to release Smith, as he might have died if he had remained behind bars.
An IJM official said the organization is happy with Smith’s arrest and confirmed that he likely will be deported back to the US.
IJM will now write a petition to the Sihanoukville court seeking the rearrest of Chea Sovannary, the official added. The court said it released Chea Sovannary so she could take care of her ailing boyfriend. “There’s no reason for her to be out anymore,” the IJM official added.