Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday sentenced a British man and his Vietnamese wife to five years in prison over the sexual abuse of four young Vietnamese girls in the capital last year.
Presiding Judge Thlang Phaneth identified them as Clive Robert Kingsley, 69, and Chea Sokthy, 27, both staying in a rental apartment in Chamkar Mon district.
“The court has decided to convict them to five years each in prison,” Judge Phaneth said. “The court also orders them to jointly pay a total of $12,000 in compensation to the victims, who were sexually abused by Mr Kingsley.”
“The court also orders that Mr Kingsley be deported from Cambodia after he serves his prison term,” she added.
Judge Phaneth noted that Mr Kingsley was charged with purchase of child prostitution under article 34 of the Cambodian Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation while Mrs Sokthy was charged with soliciting for child prostitution.
She added that they were arrested on April 27, 2017 at their rental apartment in Tuol Tumpoung II commune. After their arrests, police rescued four Vietnamese girls under 15 years old from their rental apartment.
Sorn Sony, lawyer for the four girls, lauded the court’s verdict, but said that Mr Kingsley’s sentence was too light.
“I laud the court’s verdict but I think that Mr Kingsley’s sentence is too light and does not fit the crime,” she said. “I do not know whether my clients will accept the sentence or will appeal for a heavier one.”
Mr Kingsley and Ms Sokthy yesterday declined to comment on their sentences.
According to a police report, 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. It noted that the victims were aged between nine and 13 years.
The report said that Mr Kingsley offered the girls $2,000 and $3,000 each for them to have sex with him anytime he wanted and Ms Sokthy took $1,000 in commission from each child.
Mr Kingsley and Ms Sokthy were arrested on the afternoon of April 27 2017 after municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police raided their rental apartment. After their arrests, police rescued the four Vietnamese girls at the apartment.
During their trial last month 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.
Ms Chanthy also 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.