‘Porn’ dancers call for trial to be expedited

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The ten foreigners told their lawyer they want to go home as soon as possible. AFP

Ten young foreigners charged with producing pornography have asked Siem Reap Provincial Court to speed up their trial because they want to go home, their defence lawyer said yesterday.

Lawyer Soung Sophea met his clients at the provincial prison yesterday and said the health of his clients was not an issue.

“They told me they don’t want to request bail. They want the court to speed up their case and hold the trial quickly because they want to go back to their countries,” he said.

Mr Sophea said his clients did not want to request bail because they did not want to wait for the trial in the future. In addition, if they requested bail, their passports would be kept by the court.

“They still say they are innocent,” he said, adding he did not know how the court would respond.

Investigating judge Chhe Virak could not be reached for comment.

Siem Reap Provincial Court director Nguon Nara said people always claimed to be innocent, whether they were or not.

“People who are charged always say that,” he said.

Mr Nara added the court would process the case according to the law.

As soon as the investigating judge finished his research, the court would send the case to trial and he would order another judge to try the case. “It depends on the evidence if they will be tried,” he said.

Mr Sophea said on Tuesday his clients were not criminals but simply failed to understand Cambodian culture.

The foreigners were arrested in Siem Reap last week for organising what officials described as “porn dancing” at a venue in the tourist town, which another 77 foreigners took part in.

Mr Sophea said his clients were innocent of the charges laid against them by the court, arguing the criminal case against them was unreasonable.

He said they admitted wearing “sexy” clothes and singing and dancing as well as drinking during a pool party called “Let’s Get Wet”, but denied accusations they made pornography.

Provincial court spokesman Yin Srang said on Tuesday the foreigners had been charged with producing pornography on Sunday and detained in the provincial prison.

They have been charged with production of pornography under Article 39 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, which carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine from about $50 to $500.

Samrith Sokhon, a prosecutor at the court, said the group produced “pornographic images” and circulated them online to attract tourists to the event.

He said their activities were against “our tradition” and noted Siem Reap’s proximity to Angkor Wat, which in addition to being the country’s most popular tourist site is also considered sacred.

The ten foreigners include five Britons: Billy Stevens, 21, Thomas Alexander Jeffries, 22, Daniel Richard Leeming Jones, 30, Paul Francis Harris, 32, and Vincent Harley Robert Hook, 35, alongside two Canadian women, Eden Koazoleas, 19, and Jessica Drolet, 26.

The remaining three were identified as Job Robertus van der Wel, from the Netherlands, 22, David Nikolaus Aleksandr Ballovarre, 22, of Norway, and Paul Martin Brasch, 32, of New Zealand.

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