Australian Arrested for Possible Sex Crimes

A 45-year-old Australian man was arrested and is in police custo­dy to be questioned about possible sex crimes, police said Thursday.

The man, whom authorities de­c­lined to name, was arrested Wed­nesday night at his rented apar­t­ment in Tonle Bassac commune, Cham­kar Mon district, said Meng Say, the chief of the mu­nicipal police’s anti-trafficking office.

At least one young boy is also in custody, undergoing a medical ex­amination to determine if he was sex­ually assaulted by the man, said Nov Leakhena, deputy director of the foreigner department at the Interior Ministry. Cambodian and Australian authorities are jointly working on the case, he said.

Officials declined to comment on the case, and Un Sokunthea, chief of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said it remained under in­vestigation. “I have ordered my colleagues to do it,” she said, de­clining further comment.

The man is expected to arrive in court today.

Officials from the Interior Minis­try and Australian Embassy searched the man’s house for sev­er­al hours Wednesday night, shoot­ing video and looking for evidence to submit to the court.

The arrest comes a week after 38-year-old Charles Landis, a US citizen, was arrested and charged with debauchery for his alleged involvement with underage girls.

Landis, who said police coerced him into confessing, was a res­pec­­ted En­glish teacher at a Phnom Penh school, colleagues said.

Debauchery, a legal term for sex­ually corrupting minors, is pun­ishable by a maximum 20-year prison sentence.


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