Police arrested a 50-year-old British national Sunday night at a guesthouse in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district for allegedly paying to have sex with three girls aged 11 to 16, police said yesterday.
Michael Julian Leach was arrested in a guesthouse in Koki commune at 8:30 pm by Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking police, who said Mr Leach allegedly sexually abused an 11-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old for a week, according to Keo Thea, Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking police chief.
Police also arrested the guesthouse owner, Sem Dep, 45, and the mother of the 13-year-old victim, Eth Oeurn, 40.
“Ms Dep…procured the 13-year-old girl for [Mr Leach] to have sex with,” Mr Thea said. He added that the mother of the 13-year-old victim sold her daughter for $1,500 for one week to Mr Leach. Ms Oeurn is both the mother of the 13-year-old and the aunt of the 11-year-old, according to Samleang Seila, country director for the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which assisted in the investigation.
“All of them are detained in police custody and will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday,” Mr Thea said.
In 2005, Mr Leach was detained on suspicion of sexually abusing children at an orphanage while allegedly posing as a doctor. Mr Leach was subsequently released from police custody after 10 hours of questioning, apparently at the request of the orphanage owner, Chea Savy, the wife of the deputy secretary of the National Authority for Combating Drugs. Both the husband and wife supported Mr Leach, and Ms Savy said she was aware that Mr Leach was not a real doctor but continued to grant him access to children because “he has the money to donate.”
The police have arrested 14 foreign suspected child sex abusers this year, according to APLE. Last year, 29 people were arrested on child sex charges.