A 30-year-old Japanese tourist has been arrested for taking pornographic photographs of underage girls, police and embassy officials said.
Kazuyuki Kobata, 30, who is in custody of the Phnom Penh foreign police department, was arrested last Wednesday after the police received a tip from a photo shop owner who developed the photographs, according to Don Penh district police.
District Police Chief Phan Pheng and Uch Thorn, district penal police deputy chief, said the man took at least 70 photos of several young girls who had posed naked for him. The police confiscated the photos and undeveloped film rolls, they said. The case was filed with Municipal Court on Friday, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
“He has committed a bad thing…he apparently wanted to make profits out of the photos,” said Uk Savuth, chief municipal court prosecutor. “We have not decided what charges we press against the suspect, but it would be a penal case.”
The suspect confessed he hired girls to pose for him for $100 to $150 each, a Japanese embassy official said. Women’s Affairs Minister Mu Sochua said Sunday that the suspect could face an up to a 15-year prison term if convicted in accordance with the human trafficking laws dealing with the minors.
“No matter who you are, the laws apply to everybody,” Mu Sochua said.
The man also could be charged in Japan under a new law that applies to those who have committed crimes of child pornography, child sex trafficking and child prostitution in Japan or overseas. The penalties range from three to 10 years in prison.
“It could apply for [Kobata’s] case,” Japanese Ambassador Masaki Saito said. “But first he should be tried in Cambodia where he allegedly violated the Cambodian laws.” Authorities have not identified the girls.
“Now we are investigating the case to find more evidence,” said Pol Pithey, chief of the police foreign department. “We are also looking for the victims.”
According to the police, court and embassy officials, Kobata came to Cambodia earlier this month with a tourist visa and stayed at a decent hotel in the capital.