The father of a 12-year-old girl who claims she was sexually molested by a British national said Thursday he was paid $700 by a court official to drop the charges so the Westerner could be released from prison.
“The court clerk warned me to drop the charges,” said Chea Samnang, the father. “Otherwise I would get no compensation because there was not enough evidence and the British Embassy was coming to free [him]. I did not want to sign my name but I had no choice.”
A top official admitted Wednesday that Philip Gordon Williams, 38, who had been charged with having sex with two Cambodian underage girls, bought his way out of T3 prison last week.
“As a law enforcement officer I am ashamed at what has taken place,” said Skadavy Math Ly Roun, chief of Cambodia’s Interpol office. “Nobody now respects the law in Cambodia. Not even the courts respect our laws.”
He blasted the court’s corruption and the government’s inactivity in dealing with international pedophiles targeting Cambodia, and said he knew of three other cases of pedophiles buying freedom. The average time spent in prison by the offenders was 90 days, he said.
Williams, arrested and charged May 24, was released from T3 prison last Wednesday after charges were dropped by parents of the children he allegedly had sex with, T3 Prison Director Kuy Bun Sron said Wednesday.
British Ambassador George Edgar said Thursday there were no moves to have Williams released from prison but that his treatment was monitored. According to Skadavy Math Ly Roun, the parents of Williams second victim—a 13-year-old girl he allegedly raped five times—were paid $900 to sign statements retracting complaints that Williams had sex with both girls.
Khun Leang Meng, clerk at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, denied bribe money was paid to the families of the children.
He said complaints against Williams were dropped after Oum Sarith, municipal court director, interviewed the children and found there was not enough evidence to charge Williams. The children and their parents later signed statements retracting that Williams raped them, Khun Leang Meng said.
“According to the plaintiffs he [Williams] just played with the girls as a father would with his children…There was no rape…. After the investigation we do not have enough evidence to charge him so he must be released because he is not guilty,” said Khun Leang Meng.
Chea Samnang said Thursday he had a medical report proving that his daughter was sexually abused.
Skadavy Math Ly Roun appealed for help from King Norodom Sihanouk to prevent Cambodia from becoming a sex center for international pedophiles.
“I appeal to the King to take care of his grandchildren. He is the father and grandfather of Cambodian children. Only he can protect the lives of Cambodian children.”