Siem Reap Provincial Court on Saturday charged a Russian national who allegedly paid for and had sex with three boys in Siem Reap city in May and June.
Colonel Chea Heng, provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department chief, yesterday identified him as Roman Bak Tigzih, 30, and said he committed the crimes at Romantic Hotel in Sala Kamroeuk commune’s Wat Bou village.
“The court charged the Russian man with purchase of child prostitution and sent him to the provincial prison pending trial,” he noted.
Col Heng said provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police officers cooperated with Phnom Penh police to arrest Mr Roman near the Australian Embassy in Chamkar Mon district on Friday in accordance with an arrest warrant from the provincial court.
“The suspect was involved with purchase of child prostitution involving three boys aged between 11 and 13 in May and June this year,” he said.
He noted that the accused denied committing the crimes against the boys.
“Even though he denied committing the crimes, we have enough evidence against him,” Col Heng said.
A National Police statement yesterday said Mr Roman was arrested near the Australian embassy on Friday in accordance with a court warrant after he fled from Siem Reap province to Phnom Penh. It noted that after the arrest, police took him back to the province.
Khoem Vando, a child protection specialist with Action Pour L’es Enfants, yesterday said that Aple did not know much about the case because it was taken up by another NGO.
He noted that the number of cases of foreigners who committed sexual abuse against children in Cambodia so far this year is similar to last year. Mr Vando was unable to give the exact number of cases.
“I just know that the number of cases involving foreigners who committed sexual abuse against children during the first nine months of 2018 and 2019 are similar,” he said. “Now, foreign suspects use all sorts of strategies to sexually exploit children in Cambodia.”
Mr Vando noted that foreign paedophiles are now committing sexual abuse against children in rural areas instead of cities.
An Aple investigation published last year noted that foreign tourists suspected of being paedophiles continue to visit the Kingdom to exploit weak law enforcement, with as many as 102 cases recorded in 2017 and 89 cases in 2018.