Phnom Penh Court to Charge British Pedophile

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court is set to charge 35-year-old British pedophile Richard Fruin on Wednesday, following his arrest by anti-trafficking police at a guesthouse in Phnom Penh on Sunday, a police official said Tuesday.

“Our investigation is not yet wrapped up, so we will send him to the court [for charging] tomorrow,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lao Lin, chief of the anti-human trafficking bureau at the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking department.

Lt. Col. Lin led the raid Sunday night on the Boeung Meas Guesthouse in Daun Penh district, where police found Fruin with an 8-year-old boy who later testified to being sexually abused.

Fruin—who served a year in prison in the U.K. after pleading guilty to 15 counts of producing child pornography—had been working as an English teacher in Phnom Penh prior to his arrest, according to anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour les Enfants (APLE).

Yi Moden, APLE’s deputy director of field operations, on Tuesday said that three brothers, including the 8-year-old present when Fruin was arrested, have told police that he molested them, adding that APLE suspects at least four more boys were abused in the case.

“According to what the children said, Fruin should be charged with first, indecent acts against a minor…and second, having sex with a mi­nor,” Mr. Mo­den said. The charges carry prison sentences of three and 10 years, respectively.

In a separate case, British national David Fletcher—who is currently serv­ing a 10-year sentence in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison for the rape of a 16-year-old girl in 2009—will decide whether to appeal his conviction by the end of the month, his former lawyer said Tuesday.

“He still has the right to request a retrial or file an appeal, as he was convicted in absentia,” said Uk Siroeun, who was initially ap­pointed to defend Fletcher.

Fletcher, who became the first foreign pedophile to be sent back to Cambodia to serve a sentence, was extradited from Thailand to Cambodia on October 1, and has one month from that day to contest his conviction, Mr. Siroeun added.

Fletcher’s current lawyer, Dun Vibol, could not be reached.

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