Phnom Penh Court Hears Fourth Case Against a Former Monk

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday concluded its fourth trial against a disgraced former monk who allegedly filmed more than 600 women participating naked in a bathing ritual at a pagoda.

The former monk, Net Khai, is accused of having filmed at least 631 women over a two-year period at Sras Chak pagoda in Daun Penh district. He was charged with producing and distributing pornography in July and in August, Mr Khai was sentenced to 18 years in a case that involved three victims, two of them minors. In September, he was sentenced an additional year and ordered to pay $10,000 in compensation in response to a separate complaint filed by a 23-year-old victim.

Yesterday, the municipal court heard a complaint filed against Mr Khai by a 33-year-old woman. Deputy prosecutor Hing Bun­chea said even though the suspect claimed he did not recognize the alleged victim in this case, the court had enough evidence to convict him.

As to why the court declined to consolidate the cases and instead try them separately, Mr Bunchea said the victims filed their complaints at different times.

“The municipal court cannot consolidate those cases. However, the suspect can take up the issue with the appeal,” he said, adding that the court will hand down its verdict on Oct 28.

Mr Khai’s lawyer, Chea Hey, said his client did not know the alleged victim, and he didn’t make the recordings. Mr Hey said the complainant seemed uncertain upon questioning.

Mr Hey said he believes that according to the law, the court should combine the charges. “I hope that when we appeal, the court will carry out a consolidated punishment,” he said.

The victim’s lawyer, Meas Sokunthea, said her client had demanded $10,000 in compensation from Mr Khai. She also said her client had evidence that the suspect had filmed her.

“I ask the court to punish the suspect for his wrongdoings. I hope that the court will give justice for my client,” she said.


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