Khmer Boys Testify at German Pedophile Trial

Three Cambodian boys on Thurs­­day became the first foreign children ever to give evidence of child sex abuse in a German court, according to media reports and an anti-pe­do­phile NGO.

The three were among seven boys aged 12 to 14 who have been called to testify in the ongoing trial of repeat sex offender Mat­thias Ohms, who was arrested here in February and who authorities say was determined to continue abusing children and to infect them with the HIV virus.

Interior Ministry police on Feb 7 arrested Ohms, who is either 47 or 48 and originally from the northern city of Neumuenster, outside a Sihanoukville shopping center on suspicion of using a false Danish passport, said Seila Samleang, country director for Action Pour Les Enfants.

German authorities had re­voked Ohms’ passport in July 2006 after he told a prison guard of his intention to continue abusing children upon his release, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported.

With a false passport, Ohms traveled to Malaysia in November of that year and was denied entry to Thailand but admitted to Cam­bo­dia, AFP reported, citing the court in the city of Kiel where Ohms is being tried.

APLE investigators photo­graphed Ohms engaging in public physical contact with the boys, who told police he had sexually abused them, however Siha­nouk­ville anti-trafficking police de­clined to take immediate action, Seila Samleang said.

“We convinced German police to [get] involved and they found out he was traveling on a false passport,” Seila Samleang said, ad­ding that Ohms was deported in February shortly after his ar­rest.

“We had to take the German police onboard before he could spread the disease to the children,” he added.

Sihanoukville’s deputy municipal anti-trafficking police chief An Chhun said that his department had not been made aware of Ohms.

“The report never reached me. There was no such case,” he said.

German Ambassador Frank Marcus Mann said the Cambodian children’s trip to Germany was proceeding smoothly.

“We have been informed by the court that they are being properly looked after during their stay in Germany,” he said.

The remaining four Cambodian witnesses are expected to travel to Germany before February when the trial will likely conclude, Seila Samleang said.

(Additional reporting by Prak Chan Thul)


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