Court Clears German of Debauchery Charges

A German national, ar­rested in March on suspicion of debauchery, was cleared of all charges by the Sihanoukville Mu­nicipal Court last week, the in­vesti­gating judge said Wednes­day.

Charges against Michael Ruck­rien, 30, who was accused of paying at least five boys to perform sex acts on several occasions, were dropped July 28 due to lack of evidence, Judge Keo Sakhon said. “I investigated this case for about two months,” he said. But the investigation yielded no evidence to accuse Ruckrien, he said.

Keo Sakhon added that a Ger­man lawyer had earlier intervened to have Ruckrien released on bail shortly after his arrest. He did not know the details of the release.

Ruckrien was arrested March 18 after the boys—the oldest of whom was 15—told tourist police that Ruckrien had paid them $4 to have anal sex and perform oth­er acts, Maggie Eno, director of the NGO M’Lup Tapang, which aided the investigation, said at the time.

Cheang Rithya, of M’Lup Ta­pang, said Wednesday that a law­yer from the NGO would launch a complaint to the Appeals Court on behalf of the five boys.

“We are unhappy with the court decision,” he said. He also questioned the court’s earlier decision to release Ruckrien on bail. He said he did not know Ruckrien’s whereabouts.

German Embassy officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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