Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a British man and his Vietnamese wife for allegedly forcing four minors to have sex with the husband after illegally adopting them.
Presiding Judge Thlang Phaneth identified them as Clive Robert Kingsley, 69, and Chea Sokthy, 27, both staying in a rented apartment in Chamkar Mon district.
Judge Phaneth noted that Mr Kingsley is charged with purchasing child prostitution and faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted, while Ms Sokthy is charged with soliciting child prostitution and faces up to five years in jail if convicted.
Colonel Keo Thea, municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department chief, said Mr Kingsley in 2016 told his wife to persuade the families of four young Vietnamese girls to allow him to raise them and teach them English. He noted that the victims were aged between nine and 13 years.
“But while the four victims were staying with them, the husband offered them between $2,000 and $3,000 each for them to have sex with him anytime he wanted,” Col Thea said.
He said that on April 27 last year, a child protection NGO saw Mr Kingsley with the children and followed them to his apartment.
Col Thea noted that NGO representatives waited until two children came outside and asked them why they were with him. He said that the children told them what was going on and the NGO alerted police.
Col Thea added that anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police then raided the apartment and arrested the couple and rescued the four girls.
During yesterday’s trial, both accused denied the charges. They admitted that they adopted the four girls from poor families living in the city so that Mr Kingsley could teach them English.
Mr Kingsley told the court that he is an English Literature teacher and came to Cambodia in 2015. He noted that he taught the subject at a private school in the city.
Mr Kingsley said that the reason why he told Ms Sokthy to bring the four victims to stay with them was because they were from poor families and he wanted to teach them English to make it easier for them to find work when they were older.
He denied that he sexually abused the children.
“I admit that they stayed with me and my wife in my rental apartment in Tuol Tumpoung II commune,” Mr Kingsley said. “But I did not commit sexual abuse or have sex with them as accused.”
Ms Chanthy denied that she solicited the victims to have sex with Mr Kingsley.
“The reason why I brought them to stay with me was because I am kind and wanted to help them because they were poor and could not go to school,” she told the court. “I wanted them to learn English from my husband so that they could use the language to find work and earn money to support themselves.”
“I did not lure them to have sex with my husband,” she added.
A verdict is due on December 12.