Human Rights Watch yesterday called on the Thai government to immediately release a news fixer arrested at the behest of Cambodian authorities over his role in the production of a sex trafficking documentary dismissed as fake news.
Rath Rott Mony was detained by Thai authorities on Friday while at a visa office as he attempted to seek asylum in the Netherlands after he aided the production of the Russia Today film which detailed how young Cambodian girls were sold for sex to feed their impoverished families.
“Thailand should not do Cambodia’s bidding by forcibly returning an outspoken activist who exposed police failures to stop abuses and child sex trafficking,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement yesterday.
The statement added that Mr Rott Mony would face politically motivated prosecution, wrongful detention, and ill-treatment in Cambodia.
“It is critically important for Thai authorities not to put Mony into harm’s way in violation of international law,” it said.
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun yesterday said the Thai authorities have not confirmed the exact date that Mr Rott Mony will be deported.
“I would say I’m not sure if the Thai authorities would agree to deport him [Rott Mony] back,” Gen Kim Khoeun said. “They may release him if our police fail to prove that he committed a crime.”
“Cambodian police must offer Thai authorities relevant documents and fill requirements based on law,” he added. “Since we have evidence and witnesses to prove that the video is fake, I believe he will soon be deported.”
Mr Rott Mony fled to Thailand with his family after the video produced by Russia Today Documentary went viral in October.
The documentary angered the government, which dismissed it as fake news after the mother and daughter who were featured in it retracted their statements that the daughter’s virginity was sold and noted that they were paid to be in the film.
Khieng Sreymich, the daughter, yesterday said that she feels no pity for Mr Rott Mony, whom she has accused of duping her into acting in the film and having her read a false script.
“I do not feel pity on him because of what he did to me,” she said. “Let him be.”
Un Sreypich, an orphan who entered the sex industry and was also featured in the film, yesterday noted that the video revealed the truth about her.
“I was so poor and alone so I decided to sell my virginity for money in order to survive,” she said. “I met Sreymich during the filming but we did not talk much. I was surprised when she said she was cheated.”
“We were filming based on true stories. Mr Rott Mony did nothing wrong,” she added. “I hope the government leaves him alone. I feel pity for him and his family.”