Canadian Arrested on Suspicion of Abusing Boys

Police in Siem Reap town arrested a 37-year-old Canadian national on Friday for allegedly sexually abusing three street boys between the ages of 10 and 15, police said.

Sun Bunthorng, police chief for municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, said that the Canadian man told police that his name was Jason Gant, adding that the suspect didn’t have his passport with him on Friday.

In incidents on Wednesday and Thursday, Gant had paid about $10 to the children he allegedly abused, Sun Bunthorng said, adding that the suspect is not believed to have had intercourse with the boys.

The suspect will be sent to the court, Sun Bunthorn said, adding that the Cambodian middleman who secured the children for Gant is still at large.

At the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on Friday, a three-judge panel reduced the 10-year prison sentence for convicted Australian pedophile Damien James Daniel Walker, 29, to only six years under the new anti-trafficking law, Judge Chem Veyrith said by telephone.

Walker had been convicted for sexually abusing six boys between the ages of 13 and 14.

Walker’s attorney Dun Vibol said that he was happy with the sentence reduction since his client had confessed to the crimes. Since his detention began in December 2005, Walker will be freed in about three years, Dun Vibol said.

“He confessed everything and cooperated well…with the Phnom Penh court. He said that he was sorry and regretful,” said Dun vibol, adding that Walker had expressed a will to change his character.

Samleang Seila, country director for anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he was glad the Appeal Court upheld Walker’s guilty verdict, but expressed concern about the new prison sentence.

“The punishment is light if compared to the crimes he committed to the victims,” Samleang Seila said.

Also on Friday, Bith Kimhong, director of Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said that police had detained a US national on Thursday night in relation to sex crimes but declined to provide further details.

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