A British man was taken into custody in Phnom Penh and returned to Sihanoukville, where he was charged with attempting to rape a minor, Sihanoukville authorities said Wednesday.
Keo Mony, chief of the anti-trafficking police in Sihanoukville, said Wednesday that he handed 57-year-old Stewart Mansel over to a local prosecutor and that the court charged him with attempted rape of a minor in a case involving a 12-year-old Cambodian boy.
Mam Mith, the Sihanoukville municipal prosecutor handling the case, confirmed the charge Wednesday. A hearing is scheduled for today, Keo Mony said.
The female guardian of the boy registered a complaint with the Sihanoukville prosecutor with assistance from the human rights group Licadho, alleging that Mansel attempted to obtain oral sex from the boy in return for money, a Licadho representative said.
Meang Say, chief of Phnom Penh’s anti-trafficking police, said Wednesday that anti-trafficking police in Sihanoukville asked him Tuesday to detain Mansel, who has been in the country on holiday for about one month.
“We arrested him at 6 pm at the Sunshine Hotel on the riverside. He had bought a plane ticket to leave Cambodia, but we handed him over to anti-trafficking police in Sihanoukville Wednesday,” Meang Say said.
Patrick Uong, a part-time resident of Sihanoukville, said Wednesday that on March 2 young boys on Serendipity Beach told him Mansel had solicited them for sex. At about 7:15 pm Uong saw Mansel take the 12-year-old boy to his guesthouse room.
Uong said he went to Mansel’s room with two off-duty policemen who were moonlighting as security guards. Uong said he could hear the boy kicking against the door from inside before he knocked.
Mansel allegedly came to the door, “tried to shush the boy,” and an argument ensued, Uong said.
The boy ran from the room, and the off-duty officers went to call for more police officers, Uong said, adding that no law enforcement measures were taken until the boy and his guardian filed a complaint with police the next day. By then Mansel had left for Phnom Penh.