Siem Reap Bar Owner Accused of Sex Crimes Seeks Leniency

A Siem Reap City bar owner from Australia who was previously investigated over the decades-old disappearance of three siblings and currently faces multiple child sex abuse charges in Australia abused one of his victims “over 400 times” over the course of four years, according to a victim statement read aloud in court yesterday, Australian media reported.

At the final court hearing before sentencing, the lawyer for Anthony Munro, 72, appealed to the court to reduce his client’s potential sentence by 40 percent, saying he was “extremely remorseful.”

Anthony Munro, right, on a trip abroad with a Cambodian business partner in an undated photograph supplied by Guido Eglitis.

Mr. Munro faces 10 charges for sexually abusing two boys between the 1960s and 1980s. In June last year, he willingly left Cambodia, where he had lived for at least six years, to face the charges in his home country. In August, he pled guilty to all counts.

A representative of his two victims said in court yesterday that no prison sentence would be sufficient for what he had done.

“No amount of jail time could be considered adequate compensation for the life sentences Anthony Munro served upon his victims,” said Bryan Littlely, an investigative journalist who helped uncover the crimes, in a statement after the hearing.

Mr. Munro was 23 when he began preying upon an unnamed victim’s insecurities, abusing him at least 400 times, according to Australian newspaper The Advertiser.

The publication in Adelaide quoted the words of a victim read from a statement in court, who said, “The monumental lie which would shape my whole life had begun.”

Mr. Munro, speaking to the court via videolink from prison in South Australia, “apologized to both of the victims and was extremely remorseful,” his lawyer Stephen Ey said yesterday. “Having heard the victim impact statements read to the court today, it just reinforced the enormity of his offending.”

He added that Mr. Munro was “entitled to a 40 percent reduction on his sentence…taking into account his compensation to the victim” and that he had “made a lot of contributions to the community both in Australia and Cambodia” since he committed the offenses.

Previously, Mr. Ey said his client would likely receive “a significant term of imprisonment,” but would not be more specific.

He declined to comment on the expected ruling yesterday.

Cambodian authorities have previously confirmed that an ongoing investigation into Mr. Munro was launched in 2014 for his alleged abuse of two boys in Siem Reap City, where he owned the Station Wine Bar.

The second victim in the current case, Andrew McIntyre—who has waived anonymity and who testified before the court yesterday—has previously provided written testimony to investigators saying that Mr. Munro was also involved in the unsolved disappearance of the three siblings, known as the “Beaumont case,” from an Adelaide beach in 1966.

He could not be reached yesterday for comment.

“Major Crime police have material which provides evidence people were willing to cover the truth about Munro—evidence dating back to 1965” and placing him in the setting of the 1966 abduction, Mr. Littlely said in the statement, referring to a diary written at the time.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Sheridan of the South Australia Police’s major crime investigation branch, who is currently the lead investigator on the Beaumont case, declined to comment because of the ongoing court case.

Mr. Munro’s detention will continue until he is sentenced in the coming months.

retka@cambodiadaily.com

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