Interior Ministry Dissolves The Cambodia Orphan Fund

The Interior Ministry last month shut down the Cambodia Orphan Fund, an NGO whose former British director was convicted in March of sex offenses against children, the ministry’s spokesperson said yesterday.

Cambodia Orphan Fund was dis­solved on Aug 9 because its former director Nick Griffin, who is now in prison, sexually abused children under 15 years old, said Lieu­tenant General Khieu Sopheak.

The shutdown came after the Spanish Embassy in Bangkok com­plained that the organization was continuing to operate and re­ceive money from donors including Spanish nationals, Lt Gen Sopheak said.

In addition to the sexual abuse committed by Griffin, Lt Gen So­pheak cited a number of other of­fenses that led to Cambodia Or­phan Fund’s closure.

He said the organization’s chairman, whom he did not name, was unable to manage the organization and had also been convicted of a crime in the past. The group also tried to open three additional orphanages without authorization, he added.

Griffin was arrested in October 2010 and charged with indecent acts against three underage boys living in the Cambodia Orphan Fund center. In March, Siem Reap Provincial Court sentenced him to one year in prison and one year of probation.

Chan Reaksmey, a Cambodian working at the orphanage, was arrested along with his boss and charged with unlawful removal of a minor for placing children un­der the care of one of the Cam­bodia Or­phan Fund orphanages that was not licensed.

The court later dropped the charges against Mr Reaskmey due to lack of evidence, said Samleang Seila, director of Action Pour les Enfants, a child protection group.

Mr Reaskmey said yesterday that he planned to hold a press conference today near the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh.

“We are holding the conference…to ask the Ministry of In­terior to reconsider and allow [us] to reopen my NGO,” he said.

However, Mr Seila said that the authorities were unlikely to agree.

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